Cardboard boxes can provide so many fantastic activities and create many mark making opportunities. With most of us being at home with our little ones a LOT more during this strange and weird time, I thought I would share a few with you. Firstly a cardboard box can be any size and shape, and we all have some lying about the house. You could use a cereal box, a shoe box, a delivery box or a giant box from a furniture delivery. Back in March I took part in the Little Learners Lockdown lives and shared some activities you could do. As the months went on, the children and I tried and tested a few more activities which I have included in this blog. Please do add activities and ideas to the end of this blog too, as us parents could do with as many activities as possible (me included!).
Zig Zags and Straight Lines.
At Little Learners we are all about early writing and mark making. We have 4 different mark maker characters. I cut out a zig zag and straight lines in a box lid. To be honest I couldn’t quite get a neat arch or swirl, which is why I stuck to zig zags and a maze. I printed off the characters and stuck them to lolly sticks, to create little puppets. The children then moved the Ziggy and Lionel puppets through the maze.
You will need: a flat piece of cardboard, scissors (for adults to use), lolly sticks. Optional: Paints. Adapt it to your child’s interest, so you could make a car track with zig zags, animals walking through the jungle. etc.
Fine motor: Lolly Sticks and Pipe Cleaners
For this I used a box which already had pre cut holes in. You could cut your own little slits or holes. I coloured around each hole and then the children used coloured lolly sticks and pipe cleaners to ‘post’ them through the gaps. This is a great activity for colour matching and the best part is, you just empty the box and you can easily start again. My daughter recently started school and is beginning to learn sounds in phonics. I am going to adapt this to match letter sounds and names rather than colours.
You will need: a box, scissors (for making holes), lolly sticks or pipe cleaners, coloured pencils.
A perfect way to get little ones into painting. Traditionally I think of printing using potatoes and carving out a shape and using this to paint. We used play dough and cookie cutters to create shapes and patterns along the boxes. A great activity for identifying shapes.
I think this is definitely a true favourite in my house, where boxes and recycling items always seem to end up on a detour and get turned into something amazing and wonderful! We’ve had boxes turn into car garages, fairy houses, under the sea themes ..etc. I just give the children a box of mark making tools, some masking tape and any other bits they need.
One of the skills you need in life but also such a tricky one. Definitely one that needs patience, practise and not one to be done when you are in a rush to leave the house. I had some shoelaces and made this for my son to practise. A fab fine motor skill activity too. One we will have to keep revisiting for some time until he gets it. I ended up googling and realising there are so many different ways of tying laces!
My daughter loves anything fairies and unicorns at the minute. We bought a new sofa and tables, and the boxes were too good to get rid of, so we made fairy houses. We made a door between the 2 boxes so it had 2 rooms and even made curtains out of an old top and a curtain pole out of straws! We ended up with this for weeks and the children loved to use it for role play/ imaginary play. When I did eventually get rid of it, I found the children had written on the inside; little labels and messages which were all part of their play.
As you can see we have had lots of fun with cardboard boxes. A resource that we all have and one that can provide so many amazing opportunities for mark making, role play, art, fine motor and learning through play.
I would love to hear which ideas you have tried out, adapted or come up on your own. Please do share below.
Thank you for reading.