Before you throw away that appliance box, check out all the different kinds of toys and games you can make out of recycled cardboard.
Cardboard Boxes as Toys - Just about every household appliance comes in a cardboard box. Often, small children will gravitate to cardboard boxes more than they're drawn to expensive toys. Besides playing in empty boxes, children can spend even more productive hours enjoying cardboard toys. With only a few simple steps, a cardboard box can be converted into an enjoyable toy that cost barely anything. You can make it a creative exercise as well by allowing your kids to tell you what they want to make from the box.
Uses for Large Cardboard Boxes - Cardboard boxes housing large household appliances such as refrigerators, computers, television sets, ovens and dishwashers can be used for playhouses or dollhouses for small children. Large cardboard boxes can also serve from anything from a makeshift ship, car or bus to a cave or fort. The list can be endless.
Dollhouses or Playhouses - Turning the box over, lightly pencil in windows and doors and cut them out, leaving flaps for opening doors and window shutters. Colour in details, such as doorknobs and other details. Leave box tops facing on the outside so they can be used as lawns and porches. For extra details, cut fabric or coloured construction paper for windows to use as drapes. Draw, paint or colour on window boxes, complete with flowers or any other details to make the facing of the "house" more realistic.
Robots, Animals and Costumes - Large boxes can be made into robots. Just cut out holes for arms and the head to go through. Let your children add their own stickers and other details, looking at a reference picture of a robot found online or in a magazine. They can also be used to make Halloween or animal costumes. Again, hand over the markers and crayons to your kids to let them decorate their dog, bear, lion or whatever animal or monster they wish to create.
Puppet Shows - Cut out one side of a cardboard box for your children to scoot underneath for a puppet stage. Then, cut holes into the top of the box for kids to stick their hands through for puppets made from socks. Have your kids design and decorate the front of stage any way they imagine.
Uses for Box Sides and Flaps - Puzzles can be made using sides of a cardboard box. Find a picture from a magazine and glue it to the side of a cardboard box. Then take a marker and draw puzzle shapes, covering the picture. Cut out the shapes for puzzle pieces. Disassemble pieces and have your children work the puzzle. Create roadways. Draw roads or highways on box sides designed for toy cars. Complete the roads and highways by colouring in some village stores such as a bank, library and schoolhouse.