getting creative with cardboard

Cardboard is all around us. Various sizes and shapes are used to box our groceries and protect our mail order packages, and our gift-wrap, foil and tissue paper comes neatly wound around many very versatile tubes.

The holiday season, more than most, seems to have our recycling bins overflowing with the stuff. So let’s put some of that discarded card to good use, while also entertaining the little ones.

Here are some of our favourite crafty ideas for using that unwanted card!

The Cereal Box Parking Garage


Full instructions on Frugal Fun for Boy and Girls

Sometimes the simpler an idea, the more ingenious it appears! This uses nothing more than two cereal boxes, 5 loo roll tubes, glue, scissors, and yellow construction paper. Your little one can add their favourite cars and trucks and even paint the garage with their own designs and colours. Happy parking!

Tissue Box Monsters


Full instructions on Giggles Galore

With some adult help and supervision, this tissue box monster is a fabulous activity. You can make so many different colours and designs, and it is easy to adapt depending on the materials you have to hand. These are great for storing things in too… our hair clips, ribbons, grips and bobbles have a safe place to live now!

Cardboard Washing Machine

Full instructions on Estéfi Machado

This super fun washing machine is a fine example of how cardboard boxes can be transformed into wonderful props for creative play. As with all of these cardboard crafts you can adapt the idea as you go, using the materials you have to hand. You can even add knobs and dials if you are feeling really creative. It’s all about the power of imagination!

Toilet Tube Animals

Full instructions on Creative Me Inspired You

Toilet roll and kitchen roll tubes are one of the most frequently discarded card items of all! With these cute and very adaptable tube pets, you can get some fun and enjoyment out of this everyday leftover. Coloured card, felt, pipe cleaners and all manner of craft materials can allow your little one to customise their collection. I always like to invest in some craft store googly eyes too!

Cardboard Castles

Full instructions on Fun Crafts Kids

The cardboard castle is as adaptable as you want it to be – you can add to it, and add to it some more. The only real limit here is the size of your room! Have an adult do the cutting with a sturdy pair of scissors and then allow your little learner to slot the pieces together. Use rolls as towers and simple cones as rooves. A marker pen can be used to draw on details – Don’t forget to add flags and drawbridges!

Hands-on activities like these are an essential part of early childhood development and are often part of the activity based curriculum in state-of-the-art childcare centres such as Cherry Bridge Station Early Learning & Childcare in NSW. Here children can learn through active play and curiosity, after all, no one ever said learning needed to be boring!