The next time you are experiencing a rainy day with some crazy kids running around the house, bust out the cardboard boxes. What cardboard boxes, you ask? The ones that every single American household have laying around at any given time. After all, ninety percent of shipments arrive in some sort of cardboard packaging. So odds are pretty good that you have some laying around. What do I do with them? I just knew you were going to ask that next. Well, there are plenty of options!
Make a Castle
Stack different size boxes on top of each other. Use paper towel rolls and homemade cones to make the turrets. Cut out doors and windows and spray paint or cover with construction paper. Barbie’s dream castle doesn’t stand a chance, and the kids love having a hand in putting this together.
Make a Town
I love that opening scene from the first Toy Story movie, where Andy has a whole town set up by drawing the front of buildings drawn with crayon on the sides of boxes. Do this with your own kids and then spread the town out around the house. They will spend hours driving their cars from place to place. Make it that much better by tracing a road out along the floor using painter’s tape.
Make a Chuck E. Cheese
Jump on the internet or do your own brainstorming to think of how you can turn the cardboard boxes into individual games like the ones you would find at Chuck E. Cheese, or any other arcade (skee ball immediately comes to mind).
Make a Washing Machine
For some reason, kids love their own-sized home appliances. If you make them a washer and dryer out of boxes, however detailed or rudimentary, and then give them a real basket full of real clothes, they are going to commit to pretending to do laundry for an astonishing amount of time.
Use an old cereal box for your own, personal bank. Turn it on it’s side and cover it with construction paper. Decorate it however you like (although I think making it look like a pig is both classic and adorable). Cut a hole in the top and then start saving your change! This is another pretty quick, straightforward project that you probably already have all the supplies for.
Make a [Versatile] Train Tunnel
If you aren’t interested in jumping in with both feet, or supervising some kind of project, simply make a train tunnel out of any box turned upside down and the kids will have a field day. When they are done using it for trains, show them how to use it for miniature golf!