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Baby Play: The Magical Cardboard Box

Need a toy for your baby? Try a cardboard box!

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I love baby play and baby toys, and Anna has many more of them than she needs. I get them as hand-me-downs, find them at yard sales, and occasionally get them as review items (like the cute ALEX Toys Max Round the Farm ball sitting in the box with her). I even splurged and bought Sophie the Giraffe and this Baby Banana Bendable Training Toothbrush. Does a baby toothbrush count as a toy? Anna thinks so!

But the humble cardboard box is one of Anna’s favorite toys! Here you can see her playing with her first-ever cardboard box – a new flat-rate box I had put together to ship this weighted blanket in. Which is why she got away with eating it as much as she did…

As I mentioned in this post, cardboard boxes are also useful for stabilizing a nearly-but-not-quite sitting baby (as Catherine noted in the comments for this post, suitcases work even better for this, since they don’t tip as easily!) Anna sits up really well now, but she is not very mobile, so she appreciates that cardboard boxes keep her toys within reach!

Baby play idea

More Cardboard Box Fun for Kids

Do you have an orange box? Turn it into a non-shape sorter! Cutting holes in a regular box works, too!

As Anna gets older, I expect she will use cardboard boxes as push toys as well! Maybe this summer she will be ready to paint her first cardboard canvas! Then this fall I can make her a cardboard washer/dryer, and maybe Johnny can help me make her a cardboard laptop for one of her birthdays. Pretty soon, she will be building her own cardboard houses, and I’m already on the lookout for a box large enough to build a light-up cardboard space shuttle for all four kids!

What is your favorite baby toy? How about your baby’s favorite?

a book full of baby play ideas that will help you enjoy parenting a baby and bond with your baby.

MaryAnne lives in Silicon Valley with her Stanford professor husband Mike and their four children. She writes about parenting through education, creativity, and play. Mama Smiles - Joyful Parenting is a space to share crafts, hands on learning activities, and family outings that enrich lives and bring families together.

19 thoughts on “Baby Play: The Magical Cardboard Box”

  1. “I like to see what it tastes like” says Anna!

    So cute! Great video! Boxes are great fun!!!

    I remember I had a bin of random things (not toys) for my babies to dig through.

  2. She’s so cute! I remember Joshua always loved plastic water bottles. I have no idea why but he always wanted those over his Little People toys.

  3. Elisa | blissfulE

    Terrific!! Definitely eases the frustration of that time when babies push their toys out of reach and can’t retrieve them.

    And a toothbrush is DEFINITELY a baby toy! I let whoever my youngest is chew on a toothbrush held in one hand while I trim fingernails on the other hand. :)

  4. You are so good at getting great shots of your children – the top one of Anna is just beautiful. My kids are also big cardboard box fans but both of their favorite things were their blankies – they loved running them through their fingers and they still do.

  5. Alicia McCandlish

    As a person who has worked at UPS for 15 yrs I would never let my baby play with a cardboard box that has been shipped. These boxes are exposed to so much filth from people’s boots, sweat, snot rockets, spit, spills from other packages inside the trucks ( some of which could be hazardous material). To stabilize my daughter I use a square laundry basket, the same one I keep her toys in and that she uses to practice walking and that we sit her in to push her around for a ride.

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