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Build a Simple Cardboard House

This cardboard house takes maybe two minutes to make, but it can inspire hours of pretend play.

simple cardboard play house

We play with cardboard a lot in our house, and this simple cardboard house is something we make nearly every time we finish a box of cereal! It’s quick, easy, and fun for the kids – turn the box wrong side out, cut out a door and a couple of windows, and they’re good to go! Sometimes the houses get decorated, and sometimes (like this time) the kids keep the plain cardboard façade.

imaginative play with a cardboard house

I love that something as simple as a cereal box makes for hours of imaginative play – and that this is a toy that I simply recycle after a few days of fun!

Here’s a slightly different cardboard play house, made from a regular shipping box. I like that the open roof on this version makes it into a more traditional doll house. And I love these cardboard cut-out facades from Inspiration Laboratories.

What is your favorite thing to make out of cardboard?

MaryAnne is a craft loving educator, musician, photographer, and writer who lives in Silicon Valley with her husband Mike and their four children.

35 thoughts on “Build a Simple Cardboard House”

  1. A great way for kids to enjoy their imagination. It’s simple yet I’m sure they would love playing with their new house toy.

  2. isabel@windofimagination:com

    I always try to use any cardboard for the same purpose, or making puppet theaters. They have so much fun playing with this than the other toys.

  3. Ooh we love playing with boxes! My husband gives me a hard time for all the boxes we save. ;) Such a well written post about open ended and imaginative play! Isn’t it amazing how the simplest things can spark hours of play?

  4. We run a business and therefore get lots of cardboard boxes. Our boys favourite play time is to make the box into a car. We use strips of cardboard to make circles for the wheels and steering wheel and cut out right angles to make opening doors. Then we decorate if we can be bothered. Great fun!

  5. Simple is the best!
    I love their house…I am sure they spent hours of imagination play, as they turned their house into a dream…in their heads! :)

  6. really cute idea. Im not sure what happend but some how I do not get you on my feed anymore. will put the link back in and see if it works.

    1. I’ve had that happen with blogs before. Please let me know if you don’t start getting my feed again, though, and I’ll look into it.

  7. Such a great idea for a new toy before recycling. We’ve made mailboxes, robot heads, and various other things with cardboard. So fun!

  8. Love it – we really need to craft more with our cardboard leftovers. You are such an imaginative Mom, no wonder you have a super creative kids!

  9. Elisa | blissfulE

    I love how you come up with crafts that even I can do! :) Your kids must look forward to finishing each box of cereal. :)

    My kids flatten big cardboard boxes into “boats” and go “floating” around our wood floor “water.” Not very crafty, but definitely fun!

      1. Another excellent use for cardboard! We have a large cardboard box my kids have been doing all sorts of imaginative things with this week!

  10. Malia {Playdough to Plato}

    This is a PERFECT follow-up to the book “Not a Box”. My 2.5 year old will love using it with his little people and animals. Thank you for sharing!

  11. I love it! We will do this with our next cereal box! We make a lot of baby beds with cardboard boxes and if they are large enough we make boats and use wooden spoons as oars.

  12. I am horrible at crafting with cardboard, so sadly we don’t do a lot of crafts with it. I have bad wrists, so cutting is sometimes painful for me.

    1. Have you ever tried cutting cardboard with an X-Acto knife? That little tool has transformed my cardboard crafting. :)

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