Scenic Erie Station Village

Cardboard Box + Child = Fun

Young girl peeking out of a large cardboard box. Photo credit: Cottonbro

May 2021

You can’t live in Rochester, have kids, and not know about the Strong Museum. But did you know that one of the inductees to their nationally recognized Toy Hall of Fame is the cardboard box? And why not? You probably played with them when you were young. There’s a good reason kids love them. They can do everything from provide comfort and security when you climb inside a big one to offer a blank slate for a young imagination to run free.

You’re probably ordering more things online lately. That means you have more cardboard boxes coming to your apartment. That means you have more potential toys than you know what to do with!

To help you guide your little one into the world of cardboard fun, here are 10 ideas:

  1. Tiny house. If you have a large enough box, you have a tiny house. Cut out a door and windows and your little one will spend hours decorating their special abode.
  2. Fairy houses. Small boxes can make great fairy houses. Just supply your child with paints, ribbon and sparkly things.
  3. Feely fun box. Seal up a medium-size box and cut a hand-sized hole on each side. Place small objects inside and let your kids feel them (no peeking) to guess what they are.
  4. Puppet theater. Not only will your kids spend hours decorating their theater, they’ll spend hours coming up with plays. Just be prepared to be their audience.
  5. Tunnel. If you have larger boxes, open up the ends and join them together. It’s a mystery for the ages, but for some reason kids go crazy for cardboard tunnels.
  6. Doll house. The great thing about a cardboard doll house is that your child can configure and decorate it any way they like. And when they get tired of it, just make a new one.
  7. Skis. Tape long strips of cardboard to your child’s feet and send them skiing across your carpets.
  8. Guitar. Shoe boxes work best for these.
  9. Marble maze. Use a shallow box, add maze walls, and a marble.
  10. Diorama. Small boxes are great for creating magical, miniature worlds. Your child can give them as gifts or use them to decorate their room.