We use necessary cookies that allow our site to work. We also set optional cookies that help us improve our website.

For more information about the types of cookies we use, and to manage your preferences, visit our Cookies policy here.

Cookie settings

Playing with boxes

Playing with boxes

Young children often show more interest in the packaging and wrapping of gifts than the actual present inside. So we've put together some ideas to help you make the most of this and follow their interests.

Cardboard boxes are a great free way to boost children's imaginative and explorative play. When children engage in imaginative play they are often at their most relaxed and most creative. This is when their confidence with, and use of language can really develop.

Collect cardboard boxes:

If you shop online many of your orders will come in boxes. Save as many boxes as you can.

If you order a large gift or have to replace a household appliance, it will probably be delivered in a large box, save the box for children to play in.

Cardboard box play ideas:

Children's imaginations are often sparked just by the offer of a giant box or a pile of smaller ones. Follow their lead if they have their own ideas, and let their imaginations take you with them!

Here's some ideas to get play started if you need some inspiration:

  • Babies and toddlers will often enjoy hiding toys inside boxes and then revealing them, just like a game of peekaboo. Or you could make them a cardboard post box for posting into!
  • Babies and toddlers often also enjoy climbing in and out of a low box; they will be developing their strength and coordination as they play.
  • Delivery boxes taped closed can make amazing building blocks for slightly older children. Build a tower together and see how high you can make it!
  • Small boxes can make a great home for a toy, or maybe a school or cafe for them to visit.

  • Challenge your child to work out a way to join small boxes together to create a train for their teddies, or they might choose to get creative and add wings to make them an aeroplane!
  • Turn boxes into cupboards, washing machines or microwaves to support kitchen role play.
  • Large boxes that children can fit inside are perfect for exploring light and dark with a torch, can be turned into a cosy den to hide in, or used to play a Jack in the Box game!
  • Use boxes to help bring stories to life, they could be the cave in We're Going on a Bear Hunt, or the rocket in Whatever Next!
  • Decorating boxes with pens or paint is an alternative to drawing and painting on paper and often engages even reluctant drawers.
  • If you save large pieces of used wrapping paper too, children can use smaller boxes to role play giving presents after Christmas or Birthday's have passed (old wrapping paper is great for collage too!).

Chat together while children play and you will be introducing new words. It'll also support them to explain their ideas and problem solve as they meet challenges when playing.