10 Learning Activities with a Cardboard Box – for Babies, Toddlers & Preschoolers.
Oh the (endless) possibilities of a Cardboard Box! I always aim to share ideas that are simple, inexpensive – and most importantly, doable! I’m sure you have seen your children engaged in imaginative play with a Cardboard Box, longer than some expensive toys you’ve purchased. There are so many ways to repurpose our shoe boxes, cereal boxes, tissue boxes, moving boxes, etc.
I say keep them ALLLLL. As my blogger friend Nichole of You Clever Monkey stated, “It’s not hoarding if you’re an Early Years Educator”; therefore I will collect ALL the Cardboard Boxes… guilt-free.
Here are 10 simple DIY’s with a Cardboard Box, adaptable for Babies, Toddlers & Preschoolers!
This gigantic Colouring Box was a sure-fire hit for Miss2(24m) & Mr4. One of our favourite uses of a Cardboard Box. They spent a good portion of a rainy day inside the box, drawing & colouring with markers and pencils, listening to relaxing music. As well as using their imagination, using the box as a boat, truck, train, rocket ship, garbage truck, hide out & more.
This Colour Puzzle is great because you can cut it into as many or as little pieces as you like, making it suitable for Toddlers & Preschoolers. I simply cut each square of Cardboard into 2 pieces, then painted. You can include your child in the creating process and allow them to paint the pieces. These puzzles are developing Fine Motor & Problem Solving skills, Colour Recognition & Hand Eye Coordination.
Here’s one I shared recently on our Instagram page for Miss2(24m). Developing Spacial Awareness, Fine Motor Skills, understanding Size Comparison, Problem Solving, Shape & Number Recognition. Miss2 powered through this one – perhaps a bit easy for this clever cookie! There are numerous ways to create similar puzzles with cardboard and Velcro dots to suit your child/ren’s age and developmental stage. This activity took me just 10 minutes to make. I cut out 3 small & 3 larger shapes (Triangle, Circle, Square) & traced them onto a large piece of cardboard. I then outlined with marker, added numbers and added the sticky Velcro dots! Bonus that it’s ready to play with immediately!
Here’s an (affiliate) link to some Velcro Dots/Tape, for use on cardboard for similar projects like this one.
This Colour Posting Box is one of my favourites! I made this for Miss2 when I started introducing Colour Recognition activities at around 18-20months old. We still have it today, months on & it is one of our favourite posting boxes! I cut the flaps of the Cardboard Box into posting cards & cut slits into the side of the box. I painted the posting cards as well as the slits of the box, and then wrote the name of the colours on the cards. This activity is developing Hand Eye Coordination, Fine Motor Skills, Problem Solving, Colour Recognition & Word Recognition.
Here is a simple Shape Sorter I made when Miss2 was around around 18 months old. All you need to do to create this Shape Sorter is cut different sized shapes out of a box with a stanly knife. Then collect & add a bunch of different shaped toys & blocks to sort & post! Shape Sorters seems to be a go-to gift idea for Babies & Toddlers – however I’ve never seen them used as much as this DIY Shape Sorter! This inexpensive Posting Box is developing Fine Motor & Problem Solving skills, Hand Eye Coordination, Shape Recognition & understanding Size Comparison.
I gave Miss23m a ziplock bag of PVA Glue with a snipped edge to glue on a selection of Cardboard shape cutouts. This is best done on a thick piece of card stock (or another piece of Cardboard). I often get asked which Paint I recommend for Kids – My favourite is Mont Marte Art’s Kids Poster Paint. It has a great coverage & washes off easy (floors, tables, clothes, bodies, etc) & doesn’t stain skin like I have found some other “washable” brands do – highly recommend! They have a great range of colours too! I buy the 500ml bottles & they last us ages. This activity is developing Hand Eye Coordination, Fine Motor skills, Creativity, Colour & Shape Recognition.
Here’s an (affiliate) link to some Ziplock Bags, PVA Glue & Washable Paint, for use on cardboard for similar projects like this one.
Here is a simple shoe box Posting Box I created for Miss10m. Cut out different sized holes to grab & post items from around your home. I decided to go with one big hole so she could easily grab & post some frozen foam blocks! I used electrical tape around the hole to cover the sharp edge.
This simple activity was an impromptu 3-in-1 for a day at the beach! Miss2 was 21 months at the time
Sorting Objects (at the beach) We used the Shape Window to sort some treasures we collected at the beach!
Shape Shadows We held the Cardboard up towards the sun, to project our Shape Shadows onto the sand. If you haven’t introduced your Toddler to her shadow, I highly suggest you do before trying this one.
Shape Windows What can you see out the Triangle window? Can you see any triangle shapes?
These activities are great for Shape Recognition – What other ways could you use these simple Shape Windows?