Cardboard Box Creations

Every PIE room design starts with the same formula. One of our favorite components is the cardboard box creation. A simple, recycled box is always the starting point for an amazing play adventure. A box becomes a limitless world of possibility—a racecar, a house, a rocket ship, a tree, an airplane, or anything else a child can possibly imagine. And the best part is, you probably already have some cardboard at home.

When it comes to cardboard builds, there are two tools we can’t go without. If you’ve ever tried to cut cardboard with a pair of scissors, you know it’s not a sustainable method when you have dozens of pieces to get through. If you decide to get intricate with your creations, we recommend using a cardboard cutter to make corrugated cardboard feel like corrugated butter.

If your kids are known for their annihilative approach to play, you might want to reinforce your creations so they’ll last more than a day. We use rivets to easily join cardboard pieces. With hundreds of families in and out of the PIE room every week, we quickly learned that duct tape and hot glue—while heroes of the crafting industry—are not enough. Rivets are reusable, easy to use, and can withstand prying fingers.

When it comes to decorating, markers, paint, stickers, and colored paper can all help transform the project. There is no right or wrong way to use a box. The important thing is kids become the architects. Children begin to develop problem-solving skills as they use their imaginations to come up with new possibilities and discover new ways to create. There are no boundaries to the things they can imagine and they build confidence and a sense of accomplishment as they create their design from start to finish. They strengthen cognitive flexibility, finding solutions to problems, and improving the design as they go along. Having these daily opportunities to use their imaginations lays the groundwork for lifelong, creative, and divergent thinking.

Big projects are fun—everyone wants to crawl through a cardboard maze or drop a letter in a big blue cardboard mailbox. Small projects can be exciting too. You can use cereal boxes to recreate your neighborhood, or toilet paper rolls and tin foil to build a telescope and talk about constellations.

Play builds motor skills and hand-eye coordination, engineering skills, and spatial reasoning. Children can act out realistic or imaginative experiences, building empathy, social competence, and language skills. So what are you waiting for? Jump into the imaginary world your child creates for you and let the adventure begin!