5 empty box makes

Get some free playtime out of your rubbish before you put it in the bin. These quick and easy ideas using empty boxes of all sizes are perfect for kids aged 2-plus.

1) What’s on the box? A shoebox theatre in the shape of a TV.

What you’ll need: Cardboard box, coloured paper, sticky tape, paper straws, kids’ magazines, crayons

1. Cut the top and one long side off the box. Then draw around the box on coloured paper…

2. …so you can create a TV border to stick on the front.

3. Meanwhile, your child can choose characters from their magazines and cut them out then stick them to the straws. Leave to one side.

4. Give the box to your child so they can create a scene inside the box. They can cut and stick paper or draw a picture with crayons.

5. Now stick the TV border to the front of the box. They can add or draw on circular paper buttons.

6. Finally, your kids can hold the straws through the top of the box and make up a story.


Craft and photos by Sarah Wills.

2) Kid in a box: Let your child loose with felt tips or crayons in the safety of a cardboard box.

What you’ll need: Big box, pens

What to do:

Let your little one draw whatever they like inside their big box – challenge them to sit inside, and feel happy that they can’t draw on anything else! It’s the best mess-free, stress-free craft activity we’ve tried!

3) I am a robot! Dress your child like an impressive robot. Simple!

What you’ll need: Big box, smaller boxes, paint, foil, coloured paper, glue, scissors, string

What to do:

1. Take the big box and cut out a big circle for your child’s head and four smaller circles for their arms and legs.
2. Ask them to paint the outside of the box.
3. Challenge them to make buttons and a control panel using foil and coloured paper.
4. Cut a hole in the front of the smaller box for your child’s face.

4) King of the castle: Build your own castle!

What you’ll need: Big box, paint, scissors

What to do:

1. Help your little one cut out turret shapes around the top of a box.
2. Watch them paint and decorate it however they like!

5) Home sweet home: Turn a box into a homemade dolls’ house! 

What you’ll need: Shoe box, coloured paper, glue, scissors, plus an egg box and small shallow box (eg cereal or raisin box)

What to do:

1. Prep the box for your child by cutting off the ‘roof’ and snipping out a door and windows.
2. Time to decorate! Give them coloured paper or wrapping paper for the walls and carpet.
3. Help them to make a wall with a piece of coloured paper: they just fold the edges and glue them to the outer walls.
4. Finally, get your kid(s) to make furniture using egg box cups for a table and chairs and paper laid over a small box to make a bed.
5. Let the dolls move in. Cute!

Hooray! Once again, your kids have found more enjoyment from the box than the carefully thought-out present that came inside. Next time, treat yourself to something new and give them the box. Everyone’s a winner!