At Nurture Life, we’re all about inspiring creativity, playfulness and independence in our children—and not just at the dinner table! To build up a spirit of inventiveness and get your kids thinking outside of the box, check out some of our favorite kid-friendly DIY cardboard box projects below.
In this crafty highlight reel, we’ve gathered 12 creative ways to reuse cardboard boxes and divided them into recommended age groups. Of course, with just a little imagination, these projects can be adapted to any age or interest.
4 Simple Box Crafts for Preschoolers
During their preschool years, kids are developing hand-eye coordination and refining their motor skills. These easy cardboard box crafts are perfect for helping little hands learn how to interact with the world around them.
With just a single cardboard box and some tape, you can set up a simple easel for drawing, coloring, painting or fingerpainting. Spark some inspiration with a specific theme or idea, or let your little ones come up with their own artistic creations. Who knows…you may have the next Monet in your midst!
For toddlers and preschoolers, DIY cardboard box projects—like these matching shape puzzles—can be a wonderful tool for developing visual perception and spatial awareness. Simply cut out one set of shapes from a cardboard box, and then either outline the shapes on another piece of cardboard (for a visual match) or cut them out (for an easier, more tactile match).
3. Lacing Cards
Also known as sewing cards, lacing cards are another fun game for strengthening fine motor skills and visual perception as your child tries to string ribbon through a series of holes. Cereal boxes are perfect for this craft, as they’re thin enough to be cut out and hole-punched easily.
4. Monster Feet
Turn your toddler into a wacky creature of the deep (and help them practice balancing!) with these easy cardboard monster feet. Cut out large feet in any human, monster or bird shape you prefer, and then tie them to your little one’s feet with lace or string.
4 Fun Box Crafts for Kindergarteners
By kindergarten, children are ready for tasks with greater muscle control, more fine motor movements and a lot more imagination. To get your kindergartener thinking about how to reuse cardboard boxes, start by reading Not a Box by Antoinette Portis—a cute book that demonstrates how even a plain old cardboard box can be so much more!
Kindergarteners are the perfect size for DIY mini cardboard cars. Your little ones can help with the taping or gluing of the car, or they can just have a blast decorating with paint, markers and glitter. To take the excitement one step further, host a “drive-in movie night” with healthy playdate snacks and your kids’ kindergarten classmates!
2. Photo Frames
Why not use your spare cardboard boxes to frame your favorite family memories? For year-round fun, this simple craft can be easily adapted to any holiday. Cut out a heart-shaped frame as a cute Valentine’s Day craft, a soccer- or football-shaped frame for annual team photos, or an adorable snowman for the winter season.
These easy cardboard box crafts will add a rustic touch to any birthday, new year, graduation or holiday party. Cut out any letters or numbers you want, and then have your kids add their own creative flair with sequins, paint, buttons or stickers!
One of our favorite holiday crafts for kids, these adorable gingerbread people can be used as holiday ornaments or handmade greeting cards for friends and family. Use a knife or box cutter to cut out gingerbread men and women, and then let your little ones decorate to their hearts’ content with lace, twine, felt or paper.
4 Creative Box Crafts for School-Aged Kids
Once your kids have reached school age, they’ll likely be craving even more independence, and they’ll be ready to take on more complex crafts centered around their unique hobbies and interests. These DIY cardboard box projects draw inspiration from the people and places around them, allowing them to dream up their own worlds of fun!
There’s a use for boxes of all sizes and shapes with this imaginative craft. Let your kids sketch out their favorite real or fictional buildings and then bring them to life by stacking and painting boxes. Gotham City, Hogsmeade, Peppatown, Ponyville…all of your kids’ favorite settings can be recreated right in your own living room!
2. Kitchen Sets
With our passion for delicious food and healthy eating, it’s no surprise that this kitchen set is one of our favorite box crafts for school-aged kids! Use large boxes to create an oven, stovetop, sink and refrigerator—everything your children need to cook up fantastic gourmet meals.
For a fun touch of realism, choose a favorite from Nurture Life’s kids menu and then have your children invent their own recipe for it. While they’re hard at work in their cardboard kitchen, throw the real plate in the microwave and, in 3 minutes or less, reveal the freshly made dish they’ve created!
School-aged kids love personalizing their belongings, and these crafty yarn letters will let them cover anything with their initials and favorite colors. Cut out small letters to glue on school notebooks or string onto keychains, or go for giant letters for a creative and colorful wall hanging.
Not only can cardboard boxes be transformed into anything—your kids can, too! Cardboard boxes are a budget-friendly way to make DIY Halloween costumes for kids. We especially love simple options like aluminum foil robots and hand-painted juice boxes!
Ready to turn everyday recyclables into personal treasures? Then grab your little ones, sort through that craft bin together and get started on one of these creative ways to reuse cardboard boxes. Happy crafting!