Activity/Craft,  Family

5 Awesome Kid-Friendly Uses For Cardboard Boxes

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As a blogger it’s no secret that I occasionally receive parcels from brands wanting to having their products reviewed or talked about on my blog or social media channels. A lot of the time, the products I receive come in the beautiful, fancy bespoke postage boxes UK companies love using. I love receiving them too – getting something in the post that’s got a cool, bespoke design makes the unboxing experience even more exciting – especially if you’re required to post about the delivery on social media platforms, like Instagram.

However, once I’ve opened my parcel, most of the time that beautiful packaging just ends up in the recycling bin. This seems like an awful waste to me, especially when companies are putting in the extra effort to ensure their branding is recognisable. 

This led me to think about how we could use more of the cardboard boxes and cardboard packing like the ones that Lil Packaging create and turn them into something a bit more exciting or useful. Obviously cardboard doesn’t last forever, but with my kids the average cardboard box creation has a good 2 or 3 year shelf life (I wish I was exaggerating), so I’m pretty sure that the following ideas will be a massive hit with kids everywhere. 

So if you’re looking to be a bit more eco friendly and make use of your recycling before it heads off to the blue bin, read on for my post about 5 Awesome Kid Friendly Used For Cardboard Boxes.

White cardboard box on a white table with a white background.
You see a white cardboard box…but what do your kids see?

Den Building

Who doesn’t love a good den? I remember when I was a little girl, my mum bought a treadmill. Back in the day, fold up treadmills weren’t a thing, so the box that this machine came in was absolutely GIANT. As a girl of maybe 7 or 8, I was so excited that I had the opportunity to turn this huge cardboard box into my very own personal den.

I remember my dad cutting windows into the sides for me and I made sure that the flaps at the end worked properly, ensuring I had a fully functioning doorway. It was ridiculously cool, just saying. 

My own kids are no strangers to cardboard box dens either and Luke loves to decorate his with felt tip pens. He’s a dab hand when it comes to cutting and gluing, making sure his den is decorated to the highest possible standards. I’ve done my fair share of cutting windows and doorways out for him and Oscar to explore, but that’s nothing compared to what I have seen other parents build! I have seen families who have collected all their big boxes up and instead of building a simple den, they’ve created magical castles, with flags and everything. Now that sounds way more fun than just shoving it straight into a recycling bin.

Junk Modelling

One of our favourite rainy day activities is junk modelling. As a parent, I find that it requires very little effort on my part, yet it really encourages creativity and critical thinking from Luke. All you need to do is supply clean, safe recycled materials (think boxes, milk bottle tops, paper, cardboard tubes etc), some glue, some colouring materials and some scissors. The rest is completely up to the kids. Luke’s built houses, monsters, animals, vehicles and all sorts of other weird and wonderful things over the years. It keeps him happy and allows me to have an hour of peace, I call that a win/win situation.

Artistic Masterpieces

You know when you get those really exciting, colourful boxes in the post? Well those boxes make absolutely brilliant art materials for creating eye catching collages and creative masterpieces. The larger cardboard boxes also make great bases for things like nature collages and paintings, or they can be cut to size and used to make personalised photo frames. The photo frames, once decorated, make absolutely lovely Christmas and birthday gifts for special relatives. 

Quick and Easy DIY Nerf Gun Target Game For Kids at
Big cardboard boxes make great target practice games for fans of Nerf guns.

DIY Kids Games

There are loads of DIY game ideas that incorporate cardboard boxes. The small letter shaped ones make a great base for you to glue photos, which can then be cut to create personalised jigsaws for younger children. Medium sized boxes make wonderful small world and role play accessories – think along the lines of car garages, carparks, airports, barns, kitchen microwaves. The bigger boxes can be used in conjunction with other toys to make really cool games for older children, like my DIY Cardboard Box Nerf Gun Target game that Luke absolutely adores.

Stationary Storage

If your family is anything like mine, pens and pencils will forever be going missing. Scissors somehow disappear (!), you can never find a ruler when you need one and, most distressingly of all, you’re always finding pens without their lids on! When Luke was younger I decided to try and combat this by making him his very own DIY stationary storage centre. This consisted of a medium sized cardboard box that had a gorgeous brand design on it, some toilet roll tubes, some sticky tape and some glue. Pinterest have some really cool tutorials on how to make some pretty fancy storage solutions from cardboard boxes so if you’re interested in putting your recycling to good use, you should definitely have a look over there. 

Hopefully the above examples have given you some inspiration for fun and useful things that old cardboard packaging can be used for. Do you and your family have any great tips on alternative uses for cardboard boxes and packaging? If so, I’d love to hear them, so please leave your suggestions in the comments! 

Rachael is a 31 year old mum to 10 year old Luke and 5 year old Oscar. She lives in England and writes about family life, crafts, recipes, parenting wins(and fails), as well as travel, days out, fashion and living the frugal lifestyle.

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