To the humble cardboard box. As adults, we look at cardboard boxes as nothing more than a convenient tool in our day-to-day lives. They serve as excellent storage solutions and eco-friendly packaging materials. There are all sorts of cardboard box designs, depending on the intended use – from beautiful florist vase boxes to sleek, post box friendly subscription service boxes. Yes, cardboard boxes are invaluable to the service industry, but that’s not all they’re good for.
Have you ever gifted a child something for Christmas or their birthday, only to discover that they’re more entertained by the cardboard box the gift came in, than the gift itself?
That’s because when a child looks at a cardboard box, they see possibility. They see a spaceship, a castle, a secret den, a shop. They see what we can’t – a brand-new toy that has so many uses, that it’s hard to decide what game to play with first.
So, in the spirit of childlike imagination, I have put together this blog post full of roleplaying ideas for children that use cardboard boxes. From big builds to small, easily stored cardboard box makes, there’s bound to be a fun cardboard box roleplaying idea for children in this post that suits you and your family’s life.
EYFS & Beyond
If you are an aspiring teacher currently pursuing EYFS – Early Years Training, or a fully qualified teacher looking to add something new and exciting to the roleplay area in your classroom, please feel free to use these ideas! I’d love to know how your roleplay creations turned out and if they were a hit with the children, so please drop a comment and let me know.
Cardboard Box Roleplay Ideas: Vehicles
The most common and easily crafted roleplay activity for children that can be made from cardboard boxes is, of course, your child’s favourite vehicle! There are so many possibilities here, from normal vehicles that your child will see in their everyday lives, such as cars, to some more exciting and whacky creations, such as a spaceship! Work together with your child to figure out what type of vehicle they would most like to play in, and then recreate their vision together.
Here are a few ideas for cardboard roleplay vehicles to get you started:
- Cars, lorries, buses.
- Construction vehicles – diggers, cement mixers
- Emergency service vehicles – ambulance, police car, fire engine
- Rocket ships
- Boats and submarines
Cardboard Box Roleplay Ideas: Services
Another style of fun roleplaying scenes to set up using cardboard boxes are those from the service industry. With a big cardboard box, and perhaps some smaller ones – along with a few additional toys – a brand new shop can come to life in the middle of your living room. What type of things would your child like to sell in their store? They could sell food, toys, sweeties, books – the list is endless.
Other services that are great fun to recreate are:
- The Post Office
- Chef’s Kitchen
- Train/Bus Station
Cardboard Roleplay Ideas: The Castle
Every child I have ever met has wanted their very own cardboard castle! Who are we to deny those princes and princesses their right to living out their magical medieval dreams? With some big boxes, you can cut out doors, create draw bridges, build battlements, and design some beautiful wide arch windows. Once the outside is completed, don’t forget to make it extra cosy on the inside with soft furnishings like blankets and cushions. For a finishing touch, you could even include the addition of fairy lights to truly make the castle their very own sanctuary.
Cardboard Roleplay Ideas: Playhouse
I loved playing Mums and Dads when I was younger, it’s one of those games that all children love playing and it often includes dolls and stuffed toys. Why not give this big, happy family a house of their own to play in? Building a playhouse with cardboard boxes is relatively simple, you just need to make sure you have a cardboard box that is big enough for your child to move around in. If you have enough room, you could include additional cardboard boxes that are decorated to look like household white goods, your child’s paintings and artwork, and plastic toys and cups to make it look more homely.
Cardboard Roleplay Ideas: Small Word
This is a favourite of mine and works particularly well if you’ve got a large, rectangular box. Cut the sides off the box, leaving enough around the perimeter so that you’re left with a giant cardboard ‘tray’. The edges are important as they will help contain all the toys and items that the small world roleplay area accumulates. From here, you can design the small world roleplay space however you want to. A fun idea is the classic farmyard scene. You can use wheat biscuit cereals to create hay bales, small farmyard toys from cows and pigs, and even use little strips of fake grass to make it look like there are big fields for the animals to graze in.
Why use cardboard boxes to make roleplay areas for children?
Cardboard itself is a cheap, degradable material that is brilliant for creating roleplay areas for children. It’s very easy to use, can often be flat packed when done with and it can be decorated again and again depending on what type of roleplay area your child is looking for.
Roleplay areas themselves are amazing for children’s development, helping them to understand the world around them, work on their social skills, fine motor skills, and their gross motor skills. What’s more, it’s so so fun!
Before you go…
Do you have a big Nerf Gun fan? Me too! Check out this really quick blog post that details how to turn a cardboard box into a fun Nerf Gun target range. If you’re looking for toys to add to these small cardboard roleplay areas, there are plenty of toy shops are that offer great bargains. Toys are perennially popular, and it’s no surprise that toy stores are always in demand. Toy stores near me offer a variety of fun, interactive experiences for kids. Whether you are looking to buy a present for your child or grandchild, need help with the holiday shopping list, want something special for yourself as an adult that will bring back childhood memories, here is a guide at SenseOrient will help you find a toy store near you that will offer the best experience for your family!