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Don’t Throw Out Your Boxes! Creative Box Recycling Ideas for Children

Blog - 18 September 2023

Don’t Throw Out Your Boxes! Creative Box Recycling Ideas for Children

Encourage your child’s creativity and imagination with these eco-friendly craft ideas for recycling cardboard boxes.

An empty cardboard box is filled with endless possibilities for a creative child, so don’t throw them away! Instead teach children about recycling and give your used cardboard boxes new life as a craft material or an imaginative play prop. Here are some rainy-day ideas to entertain children with a simple cardboard box.

Build a ’bot

This is an easy challenge that will entertain children of any age. Provide children with a box and some additional craft supplies such as: scissors, glue, sticky tape, pipe cleaners, googly eyes, and pens. You can also raid your recycling bin for other clean and safe discarded items to construct a robot with such as empty plastic containers, lids, tinfoil and disposable cutlery or icy pole sticks.

Circle weaving or braiding using a cardboard loom

Weaving is a great activity if you’re looking for something creative, quiet and mess-free. All that is needed for weaving is a cardboard box, some yarn or embroidery thread and some scissors. Creating a cardboard loom using a recycled box is simple and there are a lot of helpful videos online to guide you. A slightly simpler exercise is using a cardboard loom to create braided cord that can be used as a “friendship band” or bracelet.

Build a car

Younger children will love decorating a large cardboard box with Textas or pens to make it look like a car. Once they have decorated their car, tell them to hop in and, if your floors are uncarpeted, they will even be able to be pushed or pulled along in their box car to go for a drive!

Create an egg carton planter

Now that the weather is warming up, it’s a great time to get out in the garden! Gardening is a fun way to teach children about sustainability because they can learn first-hand how food is grown.

Did you know that recycled egg cartons are perfect for planting seeds in? Simply tear off the lid and fill the 12 egg compartments with potting soil. Ask children to poke a small hole in the soil to sprinkle a few seeds in and then cover over with more soil. Water gently every day or so and once your seedling has grown, tear or cut away that section of cardboard and plant it directly into the ground.

Build a racetrack for toy cars

Converting a cardboard box into a toy car racetrack is an easy and fun exercise that children will love, and one that will probable entertain them for hours. Creating a racetrack can be as simple as cutting the box into cardboard strips that can be angled to create a slope using blocks, cushions, or whatever is handy.

For a more complicated racetrack, try using more than one box, or create separate lanes for several cars on a long, sloped piece of cardboard using old chopsticks, straws, or icy pole sticks to make the cars stay in their individual lanes inside the box. Then, start your engines, and race those cars!

Build a doll’s house

This is an easy activity that children love. Simply ask children to choose some toys to create a house for, provide them with some additional craft items such as sticky tape, pens, scissors, coloured paper or old newspapers, or any other items that you can retrieve from the recycling bin. Using the box, or several boxes as the base for the house, children will have fun setting their imagination loose to create an exciting mansion for their toys!

Create a marble run

Marbles are classic toys that have never lost their appeal. To create a marble run, all you need is a cardboard box, scissors, and hot glue, sticky tape or plasticine. Using the cardboard box to contain the run, simply glue strips of cardboard intersecting with one another inside the box. When you drop a marble through a hole in the top of the box, it will run along the cardboard tracks inside the box to make its way to the bottom.

Make a puppet show (and some puppets)

Using an empty cardboard box, create a little puppet show for finger puppets! Glue folded paper or scrap fabric to the sides to act as curtains. Create finger-sized puppets using leftover cardboard and sticks from the garden. Now, it’s time to put on a show!

A topple tower – or just something to knock over!

Sometimes the simplest games are the most fun. If you have a few cardboard boxes, make a topple tower and knock it over! Or use toy cars or balls to “bowl” the tower over.

Why should you let your children play with cardboard boxes?

Providing a child with an empty cardboard box allows them free rein to be creative. Depending on what they choose to create with that box, it will probably be a great exercise in concentration, patience, problem solving and engineering. It’s also a great way to introduce children to the concept of recycling and sustainable practices and allows them to explore how different materials can be used in different ways.

Celebrate National Recycling Week with Rubbish Robots in Your OSHC! Join us in After School Care from 13-17 November to experience the fun in saving the world! Get ready to build the most creative Rubbish Robots using recycled materials. Click here to book your child in today!

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