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Pre-K activities, learning games, crafts, and printables


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25 things you can do with cardboard boxes - Extra activities - Educatall

25 things you can do with cardboard boxes

  1. Inexpensive blocks. Collect several cardboard boxes of different sizes. Seal them and invite children to help you paint them with bright poster paint. Once the paint is dry, children can add stickers to make them even more attractive. Use the boxes as giant building blocks. Children can stack them or use them to build various structures (cabins, characters, various objects, etc.).

  2. Unique toy chests. Collect several cardboard boxes and paint them with bright colors. The boxes will become unique toy chests. With the children in your group, determine what type of toy each box will contain. Cut pictures representing the various toys out of catalogues (or cut the original packages) and glue them on the boxes. Once your toy chests are ready, line them up on a shelf or against a wall, on the floor. Practice sorting your daycare toys with your group.

  3. Square cubbyholes. You will need a square box for each child. Provide several different colors of poster paint and have each child pick a color for his/her cubbyhole. Once the paint is dry, arrange the boxes to create a large cube. For example, if there are nine children in your group, stack three rows of three boxes. Children will enjoy using their cubbyhole to store their personal belongings, artwork, etc.

  4. One point, two points, three points. Set several boxes here and there in your yard. Be sure to use boxes of different sizes. Encourage children to try to toss colourful bean bags or Frisbees inside the boxes. You can associate a specific number of points to each box. For example, successfully tossing a bean bag or Frisbee inside a small box can be associated to three points whereas landing a bean bag or Frisbee inside a larger box can equal one point.

  5. Miniature beds. Provide pretty blankets, small pillows, tiny teddy bears, etc. Encourage children to transform cardboard boxes to make them look like doll beds. Children will love setting them next to their naptime spots and napping with their favorite dolls.

  6. Colourful footrests. You will need a shallow box for each child. Wrap the boxes in colourful felt or heavy fabric. Deposit them upside down in front of armchairs and small couches located in your reading corner. Children will enjoy setting their feet on these footrests to relax.

  7. A cardboard village. Collect several different types of boxes. Invite children to help you transform them to make them look like small houses for figurines. Provide markers, Fun Foam shapes, etc. You can also create stores, a school, a garage, a castle, etc. The possibilities are endless. Keep creating and adding buildings until you have an entire village or city that children can bring to life with figurines of all kinds. Be sure to have a few extra boxes on hand so children can continue to add to their village according to the various scenarios they create.

  8. An activity die. Use heavy adhesive tape to seal a box on all sides. Use adhesive paper to stick a large picture or illustration representing a specific action (jumping up and down, clapping, touching your feet, etc.) on each side of the box. Use your activity die for a special exercise session with your group. Children can take turns rolling the die. As a group, encourage them to perform the illustrated action.

  9. Cardboard train. With your group, paint several boxes and decorate them to make them look like train cars. Transform a single larger box to represent a locomotive. Position the boxes to form a line on the floor. If you wish, connect them with heavy rope. This colourful cardboard train can be used during circle time (each child will have his/her own space), to help children calm down, or for different games.

  10. Open your eyes. Wrap three identical boxes with colourful wrapping paper and set them upside down on the floor, in a row. Hide a foam ball under one of the boxes while children are watching. Move the boxes around several times and then ask children to identify which box the ball is hiding under. You may let children take turns moving the boxes around.

  11. Soccer goals. You will need two large boxes of the same size (large appliances). Set each box on its side at opposite ends of your yard, with the opening of each box pointing towards the other one. The boxes will represent soccer goals. Organize a simple soccer game with your group. If you wish, use a beach ball instead of a soccer ball.

  12. Relaxing space. You will need a few large boxes. Paint them with white poster paint. Set them upright against the walls of your reading corner, with the opening pointing towards the centre of your area. Use hot glue to stick long pieces of tulle on the top part of each box to represent curtains. Children will love sitting in these little spaces to read or relax.

  13. Unique dollhouse. Paint seven boxes with pink or purple poster paint. When the paint is dry, use hot glue to stick the boxes together to create a dollhouse (for Barbie dolls) with 3 stories containing two rooms (boxes) each. Use the seventh box to represent an attic or a garage. Encourage children to decorate the rooms with any small furniture items you have on hand. You can also invite them to create furniture pieces using recycled materials.

  14. Simple mailbox. You will need a cardboard box containing several dividers such as a wine bottle box. Set the box on its side on a shelf and invite each child to stick a nametag that represents him/her at one end of a section. The box instantly becomes a mailbox. Children can roll up activity sheets, drawings, messages, etc. and insert them in their section. At the end of the day, remind children to empty their section before they go home.

  15. Naptime boxes. Give each child a box and let them use star-shaped, moon-shaped, and teddy bear-shaped stickers to decorate it. Children can set their blanket, pillow, stuffed animal, and maybe even their naptime mattress inside their naptime box. After lunch, ask each child to carry his/her naptime box to their naptime spot. At the end of naptime, they can simply put everything back inside their box. This will make storing and transporting their items easy and help children build autonomy.

  16. Animal cages. Press the top sections of a few cardboard boxes inwards. Use large black markers to draw vertical and horizontal lines on each side of the boxes to turn them into cages. Set the boxes on their side here and there within your daycare. Encourage children to place stuffed animals inside each cage.

  17. Spelling boxes. You will need several boxes that are all the same size. Wrap them with white paper and use vibrant colors to draw a letter on each box. Use 35-40 boxes in all, making sure to create several blocks containing the most popular letters, such as vowels. On a series of cards, write simple words as well as the name of each child in your group. Children can take turns picking a card/word. Have them work together to identify the blocks corresponding to the letters that make up each word and place them in the correct order.

  18. Obstacle race. Use several cardboard boxes to create a unique obstacle course. You can wrap the boxes in colourful fabric for a touch of color. Children can go from one box to the next, performing various actions at each one. For example, you may ask children to jump over a box, transport a heavy box (full of books), step inside a few boxes, pull a box, etc.

  19. Original toolboxes. Ask children to help you paint a few rectangular boxes using red poster paint. Glue one end of a heavy rope to each end of your boxes to create handles. Slide various plastic tools inside each toolbox. Children will enjoy taking the tools outside to "fix" toys and other items in your yard.

  20. Cardboard costumes. Children will love using boxes to create turtle, bumblebee, or ladybug costumes. Have them paint a box green, yellow and black, or red and black depending on which type of creature they wish to become. Once the paint is dry, use hot glue to stick two short ropes to the upper corners of each child's box. They can use the ropes to position and hold their costume on their back.

  21. Boxed shows. Cut out the top and bottom of a large cardboard box. Decorate the exterior using poster paint or markers to make it look like a puppet theatre. Use fabric scraps to represent curtains. Set the puppet theatre on a table and invite children to take turns presenting a puppet show.

  22. Tunnel exploration. Cut out the top and bottom of several cardboard boxes and set them on the floor, in a line. If you wish, you may use heavy tape to hold the boxes together and form a long tunnel. Invite children to crawl through the tunnel. Do not hesitate to take your homemade tunnel outside. If it gets damaged, simply make a new one!

  23. From biggest to smallest. Collect several boxes of different sizes that have more or less the same shape. Explore the concept of "big and small" with your group. Encourage them to place the boxes in order, from biggest to smallest. You may also have them stack or nest the boxes from biggest to smallest.

  24. Hopscotch. If you have several cardboard boxes, open them completely so you can lay them flat on the ground. Use a permanent marker to trace the creases and create large squares. Number the squares and invite children to jump in them in numerical order.

  25. A house for... Set a very large box upside down in one corner of your daycare. Decorate it to make it look like a house. Cut out windows and a door. Use this house as a playhouse or as an area children can use when they need alone time.

Patricia-Ann Morrison


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