I’m a diehard introvert with social anxiety. I dread half-term as it approaches, but the six week holiday is in a league all of its own – the mere thought brings me out in a cold sweat. I can’t stand crowds or lots of raucous loud noise. So the solution for me is to try to plan lots of indoor fun for kids that we can stay at home for. We can play indoors or in the garden – so long as it’s relatively calm I’m not fussy.

Play Dates Count as Indoor Fun for Kids, Right?

I’ve been working on making some close mummy friends during the last few months in my anticipation of the loathsome period: I’m hoping they’ll share my (disproportionate?) distaste for anarchy and instead take pity and invite us for play dates. I’ll let you know how that goes…

Indoor Fun for Kids - Children Playing With Balls

The Best Indoor Fun For Kids?

When it comes to playing at home with the children, one of the absolute best activities you can do with your child is to get creative with a cardboard box. I’m not kidding: what is it people say about kids and Christmas?

The best present is the cardboard box their toys come in.

So what exactly can you do with one to keep them entertained for more than five minutes? Here are ten ideas for indoor fun with the kids using the lowly cardboard box!

1. Indoor Fun For Kids With a Cardboard Box – Get In It

No frills, no fuss – getting inside an empty box is enjoyment enough, in and of itself. Particularly if it’s necessary to fold and carefully arrange limbs to do so, à la a semi-pro contortionist.

Indoor Fun for Kids - Cardboard Robot

2. Fun At Home With a Cardboard Box – Turn It Upside Down and…It’s a Den

Kids love a den. Hell, my husband loves a den!

If you task a group of children with building a mini-fortress (and award them with an ice-cream for the most inspired or ambitious project) you’ll see some great things. And they will be occupied for several hours.

3. Or a Castle

Likewise a castle. This one has epic amounts of scope for creativity: a moat; trees; swords…

Indoor Fun for Kids - Cardboard Castle

4. Indoor Entertainment For Kids Using a Cardboard Box – Make a Dragon

… With which to slay the dragon, obviously.

Unsure how this would work? Come on guys… Okay:

  • Open out the box;
  • Create a cuboid for the tail. (Or, if you’re as pedantic as my hubby, a 3D triangular shape, because apparently I don’t know how to design a dragon’s tail…);
  • Fashion a body and a head in similar ways (a second cardboard box may be required);
  • Use a flat piece of cardboard to cut out spines, remembering to include tabs with which to attach them to the tail with glue or tape;
  • Get felt tips/paint/stickers/crayons/tissue paper/glitter, etcetera to decorate the beast.

5. Indoor Fun For Children With a Cardboard Box – Open a Kitchen

Who doesn’t love a pretend kitchen? (Answer: the adults who have jobs to do in the real kitchen.)

You could make a serving hatch and hand out the ice-creams I mentioned in number 2 in there as well. Basically, the ice-cream is a theme which can recur in just about every suggestion on this list. I just wouldn’t recommend proffering it on cardboard crockery or with cardboard utensils. (Though if you do, I’d love to see photos.)

Indoor Fun for Kids - Cardboard Kitchen

6. Fun Indoors With a Cardboard Box – Call It a Boat!

For the moat outside of the castle, obviously. If they spring a leak, ie. make a hole in the hull, it will double up nicely as a suit of armour to go with the sword. How? Open up the hole till they can fit their head through and then encourage them to be creative. Seemples.

7. Fun and Entertainment With a Cardboard Box – Design a Robot

Kids bored of the suit of armour? Brilliant, it’s time to rock the robot. I recommend getting a few mates together and banging the stereo up a little – anything will do so long as it has a decent beat. Entrust the eldest with video recording equipment of some kind and host a dance-off.

Indoor Fun for Kids - Cardboard Robot

8. Indoor Entertainment For Kids With a Cardboard Box – Create a Maze

If they do a proper job you won’t see them for a while… #justsaying

9. Top Fun at Home For Kids With a Cardboard Box – Fashion a Racetrack

Flatten out the box and draw a track. You could even use discarded pieces of box for tunnels and bridges. Again – creativity is key. Most likely (surely?) your child will already have at least a couple of toy cars. But you could encourage enthusiasm with the lure of a new one – if they build a decent track first.

10. Best Fun Indoors For Kids Using a Cardboard Box – Graffiti it

Even as adults we love being naughty. Case in point: when painting our spare bedroom my husband couldn’t help himself daubing rude pictures on the walls before covering them up with sophisticated Blush emulsion. I guarantee this will go down well.

Cardboard box graffiti

Indoor Fun For Kids… Get Creative Using a Cardboard Box!

So there you go, ten fun things to do with a cardboard box, and I’m sure your kids could come up with more impressive creations. Really, the concept is simply to encourage and promote a little imagination. Once the cogs are turning, they’ll be enamoured for hours. (And just in case a little more inspiration is necessary, check out this epic post for many, many more ways to enjoy a cardboard box.)

And when they get bored, check back for my next post on ten ways to entertain your kids with a potato. Jokes! (Although printing? Baking? I’ll revisit this…)

An award-nominated blogger and author, Kate is a huge advocate of personal growth, focusing on journaling to increase positivity and facilitate mindful motherhood. With a wealth of experience in breastfeeding and CMPA, Kate is also an expert baby sleep chaser. Her writing has appeared on Mothercare, Huff Post, and BritMums.


  1. TheIrishBabyFairy Reply

    Saving this for when my baby becomes a toddler! Who needs iPads or TV when you have a cardboard box?! Now off to do some online shopping to get the cardboard box – will have to be something big ? #FridayFrolics

  2. Lucy (@Lucy_at_home) Reply

    Ooh lots of great ideas. We’ve got plans to make a train and carriages out of cardboard boxes later in the holidays (to practise before we go on a real train!). I liked the armour idea, and I’m looking forward to an equally brilliant list when you do your potato one 😉 #thelist

  3. Please do something on entertaining your kids with potatoes, I have loads rotting in my cupboard! 😉 Seriously though, kids love a good cupboard box. Buy them an expensive toy, and they are more interested in the box it came in! Great ideas! Thanks for linking up with #FridayFrolics

  4. Claire - Life, Love and Dirty Dishes Reply

    I visited my son’s ‘kitchen’ the other day. He charged me £38 for a slice of pizza and a cupcake! Thanks for linking up to #FridayFrolics

  5. Alison (MadHouseMum) Reply

    A brilliant post, because everyone knows that you spend £50 on some complete and utter shite for christmas and the little bugger ignores it and plays with the friggin’ box until New Year! But what I really want is your ideas on potatoes…! Alison x #FridayFrolics

  6. Karen : TwoTinyHands Reply

    love the idea of a race track and grafitti, awesome ideas. my other half gets boxes through work all the time… I must get him send some my way for a change! #thelist

  7. Right Royal Mother Reply

    I like putting them both in it and ‘challenging’ them to stay in for as long as they can. Very quickly, mats and cushions creep in and it becomes a bed. Love a good cardboard box. #fridayfrolics

  8. Alana - Burnished Chaos Reply

    Cardboard boxes are great. Hours of endless fun. The only problem I have is that my son is a bit of a hoarder. He has an enormous cardboard box in his room that is apparently a racing car and any suggestion of getting rid of it are met with wailing and screaming and the dreaded wobbly lip, this despite the fact it has been there for months and he has played with it a grand total of 3 times! It’s my daughters 2nd birthday next week so I’m sure we will have lots of new boxes to entertain them with, the toys of course will end up in a heap in the corner.

  9. Both my kids love an empty box and bubble wrap! What is it with bubble wrap??! #MarvMondays

  10. Amy @ Mr and Mrs T Plus Three Reply

    Haha rude pics on the wall? Sounds like something Justin would do too! You are so right, the possibilities are endless with the good ol’ humble cardboard box. Thanks for linking up to #thelist xxxxx

  11. LOVE this! There’s nothing kids love more than a big box, eh? 🙂 #thelist

  12. Gemma @CotswoldMum Reply

    Great post – I just need to find a decent sized box now for my toddler to play with (destroy) I shall be pinning this for future use. Thanks for sharing. #Marvmondays

  13. Silly Mummy Reply

    Great suggestions & so true – mine are happy just sitting in a box! So is the cat!
    Thanks so much for joining us on #FridayFrolics. Hope to see you next time

  14. Rainbowsaretoobeautiful Reply

    Yep, when we were moving house we seemed that spend more time in boxes than packing them. My favourite was using it as a tabogan whilst watching the Winter Olympics! #marvmondays

  15. Life as Mum Reply

    Oh the cardboard box haha, My girls love it when I receive parcels with large boxes haha

  16. Kate Tunstall Reply

    Thanks to all for commenting, I’m grateful to you all. I’m so sorry for being slack this week as I usually respond to every single comment individually but I’ve been so manic! I’m really chuffed you like the post and thanks to those of you who have pinned it, you’re all wonderful. xx

  17. My Petit Canard Reply

    I love this! Simple, but I bet its a winner, what child doesnt like playing with cardboard boxes! Lots of great ideas that I’d actually quite like to give a go 😉 Thanks for sharing this on #MarvMondays. Emily

  18. Pierre Toole Reply

    Looking for some fun outdoor activities for you and your family? Be sure to try these simple, imaginative, and fun activities!

  19. Karen Marsh Reply

    1. Cut in half and then cut out shapes, make great ‘stamps’ with some nice paint to dip into.
    2. Go back to basics, we used to make potato men with REAL potatoes, although you could buy the ears and eyes etc, I’m sure these could be fashioned from other things!

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