Here are more than 50 homemade cardboard toy ideas for play!
We’ve scoured our own archives and drawn inspiration from bloggers around the world to come up with this HUGE collection of cardboard toy ideas.
There are cardboard games, pretend play ideas, STEM crafts, doll houses, boats, vehicles…. and more.
Christmas is coming, which means the plastic and fad toy onslaught is about to begin.
My girls are as susceptible as any to toy crazes, and they’ve had their fair share of shopkins, ooshies, hatchimals, fidget spinners, squishies – you name it.
I’m always blown away by the ridiculous cost of these things, and by just how short-lived their interest is in them. It changes from complete obsession to forgotten at the bottom of the toy box in no time at all. That squishy collection my daughter spent all her pocket money on is now so last year.
It makes me sad that the insane number of plastic toys being sold and given to kids at Christmas are probably all going to end up in landfill one day. Sure, we donate them to thrift stores or pass them on to younger kids, but still… those toys will be here on earth for at least another 200 years.
That’s why making your own toys from cardboard is a much better idea. Kids adore playing with boxes, at LEAST as much as they love plastic toys. Every parent knows the feeling of splurging on some expensive toy and seeing their child spend way more time playing with the box it came in.
That’s because cardboard rocks! It’s like a blank canvas waiting to be transformed into a space shuttle, flying car, toy washing machine or even an airport. All you really need is a little bit of imagination.
You can find all those things and more in this round up of over 50 fun ideas.
Check it out…
50+ cardboard toy DIY ideas from recyclables
Cardboard toys to encourage play
- Ninja stars by Pink Stripey Socks
- Cardboard Laptop by Red Ted Art
- Easy paper roll shakers
- Egg carton jewellery box
- Paper Roll dinosaurs
Cardboard theatres and puppets
- Bouncy spider string puppet
- Unicorn and Rainbow puppets, inspired by the book My Color is Rainbow
- Tabletop puppet theatre by Childhood 101
- Jungle shadow puppets from ETSY
- Recycled Arty bird puppets by Oh Creative Day for The Craft Train
- Printable Cardboard theatre craft by Adventure in a Box
Cardboard classic toys
- Cardboard tube kaleidoscope, by Buggy and Buddy
- Easy DIY giant dice
- Cardboard DIY shoe lacing cards
- Cardboard Tetris game, by Hello Wonderful
Large scale cardboard crafts
- Cardboard Tank cubby house, available from Amazon
- Cardboard space shuttle craft by Mama Smiles
- House on fire from a box, by Teach Me Mommy
- Kid-made flying fairy car
Cardboard STEM toys
- Fine motor threading activity by Laughing Kids Learn
- Paper roll scribblers
- Printable whirlygig patterns
- Cereal box ice skating theatre
More cardboard STEM craft ideas
- Paper roll construction set by Picklebums
- Cereal box board game DIY
- Make an indoor putt-putt golf course with cardboard obstacles
- Cardboard box marble maze by Hello Wonderful
Cardboard castles and knights
- Castle from recyclables by Adventure in a Box
- Cardboard box princess castle
- Cardboard Knight’s shield by Red Ted Art
- Cardboard castle blank cubby to paint and decorate from Amazon
- Home made Castle cubby by There’s just one Mommy
More cardboard vehicles
- London bus by Here Come the Girls
- Space shuttles by Pink Stripey Socks
- Car mountain ramp by Pink Stripey Socks
- Paper roll race car by Kids Craft Room
- Pirate ship by Red Ted Art
- Cardboard box Noah’s ark
- Kid-made cardboard boat by Nurturestore
- Cardboard Olympic canoe by Here Come the Girls blog
Cardboard character crafts
- Paper roll Batman and Robin
- Captain underpants with printable accessories
- Batmobile from recycled cardboard with printable template
- Egg carton Darth Vader by Jumbletree for The Craft Train
Cardboard pretend play ideas
- Cardboard sparkly fairy wands
- Sea monster mask
- DIY angel wings
- Cardboard washing machine by J Daniel 4’s Mom
- Medieval cardboard helmet by There’s Just one Mommy
- Paper roll binoculars by Crafts by Amanda
Cardboard dolls and accessories
- DIY cardboard dollhouse by Non Toy Gifts
- Paper roll hair cut dolls by Laughing Kids Learn
- Empathy Dolls with printable template
- Shoe box doll bed by Coffee cups and Crayons
Did you find something to make? I hope so.
I love the book Not A Box by Antoinette Portis, it would make a perfect Christmas gift packed inside a beautiful cardboard box, haha.
You might also like
- You’ll love these 25+ DIY toys made from rocks
- Here are 30 different ways to have fun with bubbles
- Get kids sewing with 20+ easy kids sewing projects
- Head outside and get creative, with 25 ways to create art from nature