Building an Entire City from Cardboard Boxes

Turn old cardboard boxes into an entire city. This interesting and creative activity lets kids’ imaginations run wild as they design and build their own metropolis out of recycled materials.

What You’ll Need:

  • Large cardboard boxes (appliance, moving, etc.)
  • Smaller boxes (cereal, cracker, tissue boxes)
  • Markers, crayons, or paints
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Any other decorating materials like stickers, construction paper, etc.


  1. Gather a bunch of cardboard boxes in various sizes. The bigger the boxes, the better for constructing buildings, houses, and skyscrapers.
  2. Let kids decide what types of buildings they want – homes, stores, schools, firehouses, etc. They can sketch out designs or just start building freely.
  3. Use scissors to cut out doors, windows, archways and details. Tape boxes together to create multi-level buildings.
  4. Decorate the buildings inside and out with colors, signs, brick patterns and more. Get creative!
  5. Once the main buildings are constructed, use smaller boxes to make cars, park benches, streetlights and other decorations for the city streets.
  6. Connect the buildings to form city blocks and neighborhoods. Add roads, parks, and plazas in between.
  7. Take it even further by making residents out of toilet paper rolls or other materials. Build bridges and overpasses to connect different areas.

It’s a great exercise in creative thinking, construction, and spatial reasoning. Let their imaginations take over as they craft a totally unique city that can grow and evolve over many playtimes.

This open-ended activity fosters unbounded creativity, allowing young minds to construct towering skyscrapers, winding residential streets, bustling commercial districts, and lush park spaces – all from humble cardboard boxes.

As they build and rebuild, tear down and expand, an entire urban landscape takes shape through their innovative vision. More than just play, it’s a multifaceted learning experience honing creative thinking, problem-solving, construction skills, and spatial reasoning.

Your kids will learn a lot from this activity.

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