How Cardboard Boxes Will Make You More Creative

Looking to think creatively? Grab a cardboard box and see what you can turn it into. Nothing gets people thinking outside the box like cardboard boxes!

Give a child a cardboard box and some markers, and the sky is the limit for their imagination.

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How Cardboard Boxes Will Make You More Creative

The ability to think creatively is one of the most useful skills we can develop in our modern, highly automated world! Creative thinking is required for problem solving, and creative activities have been shown to make us happier.

The beauty of creativity, is that you can get creative with just about anything. I find that cardboard boxes trigger particularly high levels of creativity! Since the box is usually free courtesy of some delivery, the stress of “wasting” materials is removed. This makes starting off with a cardboard box is a fantastic way to promote out of the box thinking!

Creative challenge for kids: what can you make with a cardboard box?

Getting Creative with Cardboard Boxes

My kids LOVE to turn the boxes that come in the mail into new creations! I hand over our pipsqueak markers (love those, because they wash out of EVERYTHING!) The kids use fiskars kids’ scissors to cut the cardboard most of the time, and I help out with an X-Acto knife if they need details.

Boxes transform instantly into vehicles. Besides the car featured above, my kids make trains, planes, and space ships. Add some LED lights for space shuttle dashboards and more! I highly encourage parents to play with cardboard alongside their children. If you are looking for inspiration, this cardboard train from ikatbag is spectacular!

Want to inspire your kids to make something creative? Hand them a cardboard box!

I love watching my children turn a cardboard box into something new. Ten-year-old Emma built this stable for her Playmobil horses. The stall gates even slide open!

How cardboard boxes will make you more creative

A very simple project can inspire hours of pretend play. This very simple computer that Emma built using a cardboard shoebox is much less involved than her horse stable, but that fact didn’t stop the kids from incorporating it into a three-hour pretend play game.

Get creative by turning a cardboard box into something new

More Fun Cardboard Projects for Kids

Are you looking for more cardboard inspiration? My Cardboard Pinterest Board is full of ideas; here are a few favorites. I stuck with the simplest ideas for this feature; easy cardboard projects anyone can make!

Do you have a favorite creative cardboard project? Please share a link in the comments, on my Facebook page, or send it to me on Instagram!

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.

9 thoughts on “How Cardboard Boxes Will Make You More Creative”

  1. Elisa | blissful E

    I love how you pointed out that since you didn’t have to purchase the box, you have no guilt using it for creative pursuits. You do such a great job of removing barriers – both overt and covert – to connecting via creativity.

    1. Thanks, Elisa! I know I feel a higher level of creative freedom when I am upcycling something that was otherwise destined for recycling or even landfill.

  2. The last time we got a huge box, the kids absconded with it and turned it into a rocket ship. They then came downstairs and had to tell us all about it.

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