Parenting Resource

5 Ways to Play…With a Cardboard Box

Jun 15, 2020

Don't toss that box into the recycling bin just yet! Small or large, boxes can provide endless fun for babies and toddlers.

  1. Make a cozy corner. A moving box is the perfect cozy place for a reading nook. Put a soft blanket and stuffed animal inside and let your child curl up in the box with a good book.

  2. Welcome to the clubhouse. Using a moving box or appliance box, let your child draw (with child-safe, washable crayons or markers) on the sides to decorate their “club house.” You can also offer your child stickers or even a roll of masking tape to rip and place on the box. Adult-only task: Using scissors or a box-cutter, adults can cut a door or windows into the box (putting sharp items away immediately after use).

  3. Make a tunnel. Open two moving boxes so they are open at both sides. Using packing tape or duct tape, tape the side of one box to the side of the other, forming a two-box tunnel. Toddlers can crawl, roll balls, or push cars and trains through.

  4. Build with boxes. Collect about 10 boxes of different sizes (from shoebox to moving box). Tape the tops closed so the boxes can be easily carried and stacked. Let your child use these boxes as big blocks to stack, build, and construct.

  5. Lovin’ this oven: Make an oven using a box by taping all sides closed. Cut four red circles out of construction paper and glue to the top of the box (these will be your burners). Using markers, draw a set of buttons on top of the stove and dials and buttons on the front. Adults only: Cut a small rectangle in the front of the box to be the oven door. Using some scrap cardboard, create an oven handle and securely tape to the door using packing tape or duct tape. Let your toddler cook along with you at dinner time with their own oven!

About Baby Steps

This article was featured in Baby Steps, a ZERO TO THREE newsletter for parents and caregivers. Each issue offers science-based information on a topic of interest to parents and caregivers of young children—from sleep to challenging behaviors, and everything in between.

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