Cardboard Box Dream House

Big exciting projects are often really simple , this cardboard box dream house is a kids craft anyone can make, and best of all it will get played with after too! We have officially given up nap ( can you hear me crying? ) and my little man is not one for ” Just go upstairs and play sweetie.” He needs a plan and last Friday our plan included making this super cool cardboard dream house after he read books quietly in bed, and played with his trains in his room. Having a big fun project was a great treat to do after he had alone time , which is not at all his nature and taking us some time to get used to.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a cardboard box, strong scissors, a marker, tape,  and crayons or markers and some toy people.
  2. Start by cutting the box into the shape you want. We made it into a house but you can make a castle, school, hospital…
  3. Next add whatever windows doors etc.. you want in marker . My son was not into this at all, he was like ” Make a few windows mom.”
  4. Color! He was MUCH more into this. I couldn’t get a good picture because he was coloring so quickly, and pressing so hard we broke every crayon we used. It was awesome!
  5. While they color ask them what furniture they want. If they are old enough have them make it themselves. For little guys I find if you make furniture you end up with better play than a plain box. It definitely sparked good imaginative play for us.
  6. Color the furniture .
  7. Cut out and add tape to the back. Stick the furniture to the walls.
  8. Play!

    Yes this guy is blogging. It's a common theme with our pretend play.


A House for Hermit Crab by Eric Carle is a book I have owned for many years. It offers so many learning opportunities for young readers and doesn’t loose any of the entertainment in trying to hard to teach. The hermit crab feels drab and each month he asks different sea creatures to help decorate his shell . As the shell is getting more and more beautiful it’s also getting more and more snug and almost time for the hermit crab to leave it behind and find a bigger one.  The book teaches about sea creatures, months of the year and moving. More than moving it teaches about change . Change is  difficult for all of us but a little trickier for most preschoolers which makes this book so valuable .

How a House Is Built by Gail Gibbons. In this book  readers are taken from the architect’s desk to the day the family moves in with just the right amount of detail about all the intermediate steps. Each worker and what they contribute to building a house is explained briefly, from the laying of the foundation, the carpenters who frame the house and even the landscapers who lay the sod. If you have a little builder in your house they will love reading about the steps and many people who help build a house.

Eek! There’s A Mouse in the House by Wong Herbert Yee is a silly book with wonderful rhymes and engaging pictures. In other words it’s a great kids book. In it a mouse gets in the house and to fix it a little girl sends in larger and larger animals until all reason is thrown out the window and an elephant shows up.  My son while protesting me reading him a board book ( it’s for babies he said) couldn’t help but giggle at how silly this book was and was rhyming a long. I think this would make a wonderful book to read to a baby and toddler or preschooler pair, the rhythm of the book will delight a baby and toddlers on up will laugh and rhyme while you read it.

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  1. says

    Love the idea of making the play pieces instead of using the ones from other toys, although intermixing them might be cute. Our firehouse toy has bunkbeds!

    Just curious how old your son is and what make you begin to forgo his nap? Not sleeping? A battle? The new baby and being busy otherwise? Not going to bed at night? How much was he napping when you finally called it quits.

    I’m hoping my 2 nap til they go to college! hahaha. Thankfully though at 3 years old my oldest still naps about 2 hours a day and my 14 month old 2 nice 2 hour naps still! Luckily I got sleepers.

    Just curious about your situation. Thanks for the many ideas! 🙂

    • admin says

      When his sister first arrived they would nap at the same time- pure heaven! Then the battle began and he needs me to lay with him to get to sleep ( he will be 4 in November) and she would wake just as I was getting him to sleep. I would then end up in a horrible frustrated mood. Also he was doing better staying up, not as crazy tired, goofy before dinner but nothing I couldn’t handle. So we started quiet time – which is 30 minutes reading on his bed alone, or doing quiet puzzles, Mr. Potato head etc… then 30 minutes playing with whatever he wants in his room. Then he comes down stairs and does art, then outside or inside quiet play. After that it’s snack time then if he wants to watch a tv show he can.

      It’s worked well for us in terms of me not fighting with him, and gives us time together that isn’t spent fighting. Also he is in bed by 7:45 and asleep by 8 so my husband and I get more time alone ( well w/ a nursing baby) too.


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