Are you looking for cool things to make out of cardboard boxes? Then you’ll love our list of easy cardboard craft ideas and cardboard toys for kids. Their fun and cheap kids activities you can do at home with items you already have.
Turn that rainy day stuck inside into something memorable creating cardboard craft ideas like butterflies, a reading nook, marble run, Nerf targets, slides, car ramps, and more. It’s amazing what you can DIY with a cardboard box.
Look through our list and find a few easy things to make with cardboard your kids will love to try.
This post contains affiliate links. If you choose to buy something using my link, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. For more information, see my disclaimer here.
Cool Things to Make With Cardboard Crafts & Toys
Get started making your own cardboard crafts and toys by saving up cardboard boxes, paper towel rolls, toilet paper rolls, wrapping paper rolls, tissue boxes, and any other cardboard you would recycle.
Find a spot to store the cardboard so when you need a quick kids activity you can pull them out and get started. The best part is your saving money on supplies and teaching your kids how to reuse items that are recyclable.
Turn those flat boxes into a beautiful Cardboard Butterfly craft. All you need is cardboard, tissue paper, and markers. I love how these end up looking like stained glass when you hold the butterflies up to the window.
Get directions and a butterfly template in Cardboard Butterfly Craft Ideas to make with your kids.
Kids love to stack up building blocks so why not make them out of your old cardboard boxes? You can use any small to medium size boxes you have. We have even used old tissue boxes.
To make the boxes seem more special I used colorful tape around the outside of each box. This added some fun and was super easy to do. I picked up several colors of tape at Dollar Tree but you can also find some here.
Then let your kids use their imagination to build a fort, zoo, store, or just see how high they can build the blocks. The great thing about cardboard is it’s lightweight when they fall down so kids won’t get hurt.
Create a reading nook out of larger boxes. Again I used different color tapes to decorate our Book Nook. Then we added pillows, blankets and books so the kids could hang out and read.
You can also let your kids get creative with this and use crayons or markers to decorate their own book nook. They’ll love just being able to color this huge box.
Tip – If the box can stay up on its own don’t tape the back wall shut. Then when the kids are done you can fold it down to save space.
Make a cool DIY Cardboard Marble Run for your kids. The marble run can be used as an at-home STEM project and a fun game for kids.
First, let the kids experiment to figure out where to put all the pieces in the Marble Run. Your goal is to try and get the marble to land in the toilet paper roll at the bottom.
Once you’ve made it use our free printable observation chart to mark down where the marble lands the most.
When your done turn it into a game giving each area a marble can land a different amount of points. Compete to see who can get the most points while sending the marble down the shoot.
Get instructions on How to Make a Cardboard Marble Run.
Do your kids love playing with Nerf Guns? Then they’ll want this DIY Spinning Cardboard Nerf Target. Kids will enjoy the challenge of trying to hit a spinning target and the box will collect all the targets that hit it. So less to clean up!
You can also use paper towel rolls with ping pong balls on top as extra targets. We usually place these above the spinning target.
Get Directions & pictures in How to Make a Spinning Nerf Target.
Make your own indoor golf course with cardboard golf holes. Use a box that is the size of a shoe box or large tissue box. Cut one side of box open so you can hit a golf ball into it.
Glue a colored piece of construction paper on top and write the number. I try to have each hole have a different color and then pick the number based on where I place the hole in the room.
Hockey with Cardboard
Making a floor hockey game out of cardboard is really just creating a goal for your kids. To do this I used a medium-size box and just folded in the flaps. You could also cut off the flap it keeps the ball from rolling in.
Tip: If you need to buy a hockey stick you could also use this stick for golf so you don’t need to buy two items. The kids don’t really care if it’s the right stick they just want to play.
Want to get your kids moving? Keep them active with this fun exercise dice. Use a cube-shaped box that can work as a dice. To add color I added different color tape around the edges of the box.
On each side of the dice write a different exercise for the kids to do. Then let them roll the dice and try the exercise. You can all do the exercise together or have just the person who rolls do it.
I use this as a rain day activity and it’s a great way to get some energy out.
Exercise Ideas for the Dice
- Skip Down the Hallway
- Hop on 1 Foot
- 10 Jumping Jacks
- 5 Push Ups
- Run in Place
- 5 Sit Ups
- Roll Again
- Skip Turn
- 5 Squats
Turn a large box into a slide down your stairs. This is super easy to make and tons of fun. Flatten a large box and lay it onto of your stairs. Then place a few pillows at the end to make a soft landing and to keep the box from slipping down.
Next let the kids slide down and have fun. My kids also let their dolls slide down as a race.
Car Ramp & Race
The same way you created a slide you can make a car race or ramp for your kids. To make car lanes we add roadway tape. Add this to the box to create your different lanes down to the bottom of the box.
Have the kids lay on their stomachs at the top of the stairs and race the cars to the end. If you want the ramp to flatten out at the finish line add another flattened box to the end of your stairs. You can add a finish line to that box and see which car makes it over the line first.
Did you find a few things to make with cardboard that your kids will enjoy? I hope you’ve come away inspired and ready to make cardboard crafts and toys with your kids.
Do you have any other cardboard craft ideas your kids love? Please share with us in the comments so we all can try it!
More Kids Activities
Need a few more boredom-busting activities for kids? Keep them off electronics and playing with fun ideas on our Kids Activity Page. Here are a few reader favorites below.
Rainy Day Activities for Kids – Fun indoor games and activities to keep kids busy all day inside.
60 Fun & Free Things to do with Kids – Screen-free activities both indoor & outdoors.
36 Things to Do When Your Kids are Bored – Free Printable I’m Bored Jar
Hallway Laser Maze – Create a cool DIY Laser Maze in your Hallway
Nature & Neighborhood Scavenger Hunts for Kids – Free Printable to get your outside on a fun walk together.
Did you enjoyed this article? Then become part of the Happy Mom Hacks Community where we strive to make a mom’s life easier.
Get our weekly newsletter with fun kids activities, family travel ideas, easy weeknight meals, household hacks, and more.
Bonus, you’ll get our free printable Would You Rather Game to use as a hilarious birthday party game or fun family game night.