18 Amazing DIY Kids' Toys You Can Make With a Cardboard Box
Don't just recycle those cardboard boxes and toilet paper tubes; transform them into a car wash, a castle or 16 other cool toys (18 Photos)
From: Imagination Tree
What You Need: Medium-size box, X-acto knife, ribbon, paint, brushes and confetti glue.
How to Do It: Cut off the top flaps of the box. Into each wall, cut turrets and windows. Make a drawbridge on one side by cutting a simple flap, leaving the bottom of the drawbridge attached. Poke two holes at the top of the drawbridge, and two holes above the drawbridge on the castle wall. Thread ribbon through the holes so you can use it to open and close the drawbridge. Paint the outside of the castle to look like stone and add a layer of confetti glue to make it sparkle. Round up all your child's Little People, animals and trees, and let her start reenacting her favorite fairy tale.IMAGINATION TREE
Little Red BarnFrom: Joyfully Weary
What You Need: Medium rectangular box, wood glue, X-acto knife, primer, red and black paint, small paint rollers, foam brush, painters tape.
How to Do It: Cut the box's shorter lid flaps at two angles, so the longer lid flaps can join with them to form a barn-shaped roof. Create fold-out barn doors by cutting completely through the box at the top and bottom of the doors, and along the middle seam, but only score the hinge-side of the doors from the inside of the box. Finish the roof by using wood glue to join the flaps together. Paint the entire barn with a basic primer (cardboard is very porous); then outline the windows and doors with painters tape, and paint the barn walls red and the roof black. Once it all dries and you remove the tape, herd your tot's favorite barnyard figures inside and get them settled in their new home.JOYFULLY WEARY
What You Need: Flat cardboard, rectangular cardboard box, wrapping paper tube, scissors, glue and rubber bands.
How to Do It: Cut a guitar-shaped facade with a large hole in it out of a flat piece of cardboard. Glue to a small rectangular cardboad box with the front cut off so the hole on the facade is not obstructed. Cut an X into the top of the box, pressing in the flaps that are created so you can insert a wrapping paper tube into it as the neck of the guitar. Let the cardboard tube protrude into the body of the guitar for stability, and add glue to the pressed-in X flaps to secure the tube to the box. Cut short slits in the top and bottom of the guitar-shaped piece, and loop rubber bands around them for strings. Finish the head of the guitar's neck with an appropriately-shaped piece of cardboard, slotted into the flattened end of the cardboard tube. Mousse your kid's hair into a mohawk and let him rock out.IKATBAG
Collecting Nature Box
From: Red Bird Crafts
What You Need: Cereal box, brown paper, stickers or magazines to clip, scrap paper, number stamps or markers and seasonal nature findings.
How to Do It: Wrap a cereal box with a brown paper bag and decorate the outside with magazine cutouts or stickers appropriate to the season. Line the inside of the box with scrap paper and stamp or write the numbers one through six inside to organize your collection. Head out on a nature walk with your tot and collect six items -- such as leaves, seed pods, acorns and small pine cones -- to display inside. Change and rotate the pieces of nature with the seasons (or whenever you and your kiddo want to explore).RED BIRD CRAFTS
From: A Bird and a Bean
What You Need: Two tissue boxes, tissue paper, scissors, glittery modge podge, brushes, sponges or cardboard, duct tape and a hot glue gun.
How to Do It: Use the duct tape to reduce the size of the tissue-box openings so they're the right size for little feet (you can also use duct tape to reinforce the opening for extended stomping). Cut tissue paper into pieces and decoupage them onto the boxes with glittery modge podge. Hot glue triangles cut out of a sponge or cardboard to the front of the box as toenails. Let your kids stomp around the house and roar!A BIRD AND A BEAN
What You Need: Cereal box, toilet paper roll, duct tape, tissue paper, scissors, ribbon, tinfoil, glue, construction paper and marker (or a subscription to Kiwi Crate).
How to Do It: Cut a toilet paper roll into two pieces and wrap duct tape around each piece. Attach the tubes to the bottom of the cereal box as exhaust pipes. Duct tape ribbon arm straps to the box, secure the top of the box with duct tape, and add some more duct tape all around the box to make it extra sturdy. Wrap the box in tinfoil and let your child decorate it with construction paper "buttons" and add details with markers. Glue cut strips of tissue paper inside each toilet-paper tube as flames, and alert Mission Control that your kid is ready for takeoff!KIWI CRATE
Balloon Race Car
From: Nerdy Baby
What You Need: A balloon, plastic bottle or toilet paper tube, straw, four sticks and four bottle caps or foam disks of the same size.
How to Do It: First, poke two holes through the upper part of the tube or bottle and two holes in the lower part. Fit the two sticks through the holes so that the ends are sticking out. Make a hole in the top of each bottle cap or foam disk and then stick the caps through the end of each stick. Tie the balloon to one end of the straw and attach it to the tube with a piece of tape. Push your racecar and watch the balloon get bigger! Zoom!NERDY BABY
From: Imagination Tree
What You Need: Large box, socks or tights, scissors.
How to Do It: Open both ends of the box to create a tunnel. Use a pair of closed scissors to puncture holes into the top of the box, twisting them in the holes to make them large enough to fit the socks or tights through. Thread the socks or tights through the holes, so they hang at different lengths, and knot at the top so they're secure. You can add some rattles inside some of the tights for the kids to find and shake. Then let your baby or toddler navigate back and forth through the colorful jungle.IMAGINATION TREE
Leaf People Finger Puppets
How to Do It: Begin by hot gluing the leaf to the top of the cardboard tube for the head. Next, hot glue the twigs to the sides of the tube for the arms. Hot glue pebbles or small pieces of bark to the front of the tube for buttons. Finally, add wiggle eyes to the leaf head. Add a cardboard box puppet theater, and your kids can put on a show!COURTESY OF CRAFTS BY AMANDA
Ball Drop Maze
From: A Happy Wanderer
What You Need: Paper towel and toilet paper rolls, large cardboard box, scissors, glue, ping-pong or other small balls.
How to Do It: Cut the paper towel and toilet paper rolls in half lengthwise and glue them as ramps down the long side of a large cardboard box so that a ball can drop from one to the next. Let it dry for a few hours, prop it against a wall for support, and let the kids drop balls, cars -- really, anything that rolls -- down the path. Encourage your kids to count to see which items zoom to the bottom fastest!A HAPPY WANDERER
From: bloesem kids
What You Need: Two kitchen paper tubes, four toilet rolls, one small box, four straws, craft paper, scissors, cellotape and colored makers
How To Do It: Remove the flaps from the box and cut small rectangles starting at the top of each side. Cut the kitchen tubes in half and center the tubes evenly on each corner, marking where the box and tube meet. Cut along the marked lines about one inch in and slide the tubes onto the corners of the box. Cut triangles from the craft paper and secure to the end of the straws using cellotape. Attach the straws to the inside of the tubes. Draw a door and two windows on the paper, cut them out and attach them to the front of the castle with the cellotape. Let your little princess play interior designer and decorate the castle.BLOESEM KIDS
Basketball Arcade Game
From: Caine's Arcade
What You Need: Large, flat sheet of cardboard, four long, flat boxes, three short, flat boxes, duct or packing tape, small basketball hoop, tennis ball and a table.
How to Do It: Take two of the long boxes and tape them together to form a tall backboard onto which you can tape the basketball hoop. Then take the other two long boxes and tape them to each corner of the backboard to form a U shape around the hoop. Add the shorter boxes to the sides and the end of the structure until you have completed the rectangle. Cut the large, flat sheet of cardboard to fit the bottom of the structure and attach it. Set the basketball arcade on a table, add some tennis balls and start shooting!CAINE'S ARCADE
Toy Car Parking Garage
From: La Factoría Plástica
What You Need: Box from Ikea Forsa lamp or similar fold-open box with a flip lid, scrap cardboard, X-acto knife, scissors, ruler, hot glue gun, black marker, adhesive velcro and ribbon or felt.
How to Do It: With the X-acto knife and ruler, cut off the small sides of the flip lid, and cut some scrap pieces of cardboard into various size rectangles to form the gas station, ledges for the parking areas and a ramp to the second level, all as pictured. If your box isn't already divided into two sections, cut a piece of cardboard to make a divider and attach it with a hot glue gun. Using the ruler, draw parking space lines inside the box on both levels, dotted road lines on the ramp and lid, and gas station details. Cut squares of adhesive velcro to attach the gas station and ramp to the structure (they can be removed to close the box). Adhesive velcro squares can also be used as closures for the box lid. For portability, add a handle by poking two holes through the lid flap and knotting a ribbon or strip of felt through them. Now your kid can park his favorite toy cars, trucks and buses inside and carry his garage wherever he goes!LA FACTORIA PLASTICA
Toy Car Wash
From: Filth Wizardry
What You Need: Diaper box (or box about twice as tall as your toy cars, and comfortably wider), two paper towel tubes, foam or felt sheets, wooden spoon, dowel rod, straws, tin foil, X-acto knife, scissors, paper and markers.
How to Do It: Cut off the top of the box, cut fold-down car-size doors on either end, and cut windows on each side. Cut felt or foam sheets into fringed strips and glue around one paper towel tube to look like a large car-wash brush. Wrap a wooden spoon in aluminum foil and put through the fringed tube. Cut notches into the top of the box near the car-wash entrance so the wooden spoon can slip into the notches and allow you to spin the brush. Cut the other paper towel tube in half lengthwise, cover with foam or felt fringe, and glue to the back corners of the car wash. Glue a long fringed sheet of felt or foam to a dowel rod to make a washing curtain. Cut notches into the top of the box to suspend the dowel rod and its curtain in the middle of the car wash. Glue another fringed curtain of felt or foam right inside the entrance opening. Decorate the outside of the box with aluminum foil and paper signs, and invite Barbie to bring her convertible for a deluxe wax and shine.FILTH WIZARDRY LINK
From: Blonde Designs
What You Need: Two cardboard boxes that are about the same size, a pair of scissors, markers and packing tape.
How to Do It: Cut one corner of each box so they each become a single, flat sheet of cardboard. Reinforce each sheet by taping over the gaps and seams. Draw matching angled "rocket nose" lines at the top of each flattened box and cut into shape with scissors. Bend the boxes together to form a cylinder, taping the sides of the boxes together (inside and outside). Tape the nose of the rocket last. Use the cardboard scraps to make the "wings" at the bottom of the rocket and tape together. Add your child's name and count down to blastoff!BLONE DESIGNS
Shoebox Car Garage
From: Lilla A Design
What You Need: Flip-lid shoebox, scrap cardboard, masking tape, stencils, paint, sponge, ruler, and X-acto knife.
How to Do It: Cut two toy-car-size garage doors into the front of the box. Use a scrap piece of cardboard and masking tape to attach a ramp from the inside of the lid to the ground. Paint the inside of the box the color of asphalt and the outside with whatever color you prefer. Using stencils, paint numbered parking spaces inside the box and garage on the outside. Hand out parking passes to the Matchbox cars in your kid's toy box – we bet you'll have a waiting list.LILA A DESIGN
From: Celebrate Everyday With Me
What You Need: Medium-size box, X-acto knife, electrical tape, Wite-Out, crayons and markers.
How to Do It: Take a box that's open on the top and turn it upside down. Cut a hole in the "new" top that's large enough for your kid's hands to easily reach inside. Cut out tunnels on each side. Use black electrical tape to create the roads and Wite-Out Correction Tape for the dashed white lines. Decorate the box with red electrical tape, printables of your kid's favorite train or car characters, and drawings of cave rocks, trees and more.CELEBRATE EVERYDAY WITH ME
What You Need: At least two large white cardboard boxes, neon duct tape, X-acto knife and fabric remnants.
How to Do It: Cut a box into four equal-size triangles and connect as a roof to another box that forms the castle walls. Cut rectangles for doors and circles for windows into the walls. Reinforce corners and seams with neon duct tape, creating fun patterns. Accent walls with more duct-tape designs and use fabric remnants taped inside the circle windows for curtains. Put a row of castles together with doors or windows cut into the connecting walls for a complete castle experience -- and expect your kids to want to sleep in it for a least a week.HELLO LUCKY