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


10 things to do with empty cereal boxes - Extra activities - Educatall

10 things to do with empty cereal boxes

1. Three-dimensional frames. Simply cut a rectangle or oval out of one side of each cereal box, leaving a 1-inch frame around the edge. Invite children to paint the boxes or decorate them with decorative adhesive tape. Set the boxes aside to dry if necessary. Glue a picture or drawing inside each box. You will have an interesting three-dimensional effect since the pictures or drawings will be a few inches away from the actual frame. Hang your frames on a wall. Children will love to admire them. Encourage them to add frames to their collection as they wish.


2. Downtown. Gather several different sizes of cereal boxes. If you wish, insert a few crumpled balls of paper or pebbles inside each one so they can easily remain upright. Wrap them with aluminum paper or black or gray construction paper. The boxes will represent skyscrapers. Use gel markers or permanent markers to draw windows and doors on each box. Set the skyscrapers in your construction area. Children will love using them to represent the downtown area of a large city. Encourage them to drive toy cars between the buildings and to recreate new cities over and over again.

3. Challenge box. Paint a cereal box or wrap it with pretty wrapping paper. Set the box flat on a table and cut several tiny circles out of the upper portion. Insert a tiny object in each hole: miniature pompom, miniature eraser, a button, a marble, a gumball, a cracker, etc. Of course, the items will move around in the box. Show children how they can gently tilt the box up and down and left to right to see the items. Provide tweezers children can use to extract the items, much like the game we all played when we were young where we had to extract bones without touching the edges of the openings. What a great fine motor skills activity!

4. Finger paint surface. Children love finger painting. However, since finger paint is thicker that regular poster paint, it is best to use thicker paper. I suggest cutting empty cereal boxes and using them for finger painting. For each empty box, you will get two surfaces that children can paint on without having to worry about the paper tearing.

5. Tiny suitcases. The rectangular shape of cereal boxes makes them perfect for creating tiny suitcases that children will love to fill, empty, and transport here and there. Wrap the boxes with colourful felt and place them on their side. Make two tiny holes on one end of each box and insert a pipe cleaner to add a handle. Leave one end of each box uncovered so children can slide crayons, doll clothes, etc. inside. These tiny suitcases will go on many imaginary trips!

6. Mystery books. Collect several empty cereal boxes. Decorate them with wrapping paper that features children's favorite characters. Avoid covering the top of each box (with the flaps). Every day, insert a different book in each box before closing them. During specific periods, for example before naptime, invite children to pick a box and bring it to their spot. They will be excited to discover the book hiding inside their box.

7. Cardboard cars. Use red, blue, or black poster paint to paint a few empty cereal boxes. Also paint several empty toilet paper rolls with black paint. Let dry. Place the boxes flat on a table and cut a small rectangle out of the upper section of each one. Cut each toilet paper roll into four pieces. Glue two on either side of each box to represent wheels. Children will love driving these cardboard cars around your daycare and inserting small dolls or figurines in the openings.

8. Giant memory game. Wrap several empty cereal boxes with the same type of paper. Ideally, all the boxes must be the same size. Print several coloring pages related to your current theme, making sure you have two copies of each one. Glue one picture on each box. Set the boxes upside down on the floor, in rows. Children take turns turning two boxes over, trying to find matching pictures as in a traditional memory game.

9. Pick one out of the box. An empty cereal box represents the ideal recipient for an activity where children must pick a card or item out of a box without seeing it. Simply decorate a box according to your current theme or activity using stickers, foam shapes, various accessories, etc.

10. Maracas. Pour dried peas into single-portion empty cereal boxes. Use heavy adhesive tape to completely wrap and seal the boxes. If you wish, use several colors to represent the stripes of traditional sombreros worn by Mexicans. Children will love to shake the maracas to create different rhythms.


Patricia-Ann Morrison


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