Make a Cardboard City
- 1 large cardboard box for the base, flattened
- Various sized cardboard boxes: cereal boxes, empty food boxes, paper cups…
- Hot Glue
- Duct tape
- Accessories: Matchbox cars, animal figures, rocks, strawberry baskets for fences, clothespins, pipe cleaners, anything you can think of!
Cardboard City Instructions
- Step 1: Layout roads. Starting with the flattened cardboard box, lay down the duct tape to make roads and define building lots.
- Step 2: Add Buildings. Using hot glue start gluing boxes down in different “lots”. Stack boxes to make skyscrapers.
- Step 3: Start painting! We used a bunch of quality but very old acrylic paints I had lying around. We painted the buildings white to cover over the information on the boxes. I then added painted windows. My daughter added all the abstract painting.
- Step 4: Add details Once things start coming together you and your children can start designating certain buildings to be things like the hospital, bank, jail etc. and add details to match. My kids wanted a cemetery, oh my, so we made little fences out of strawberry baskets. My son is also obsessed with all things battleship so we made a port with a lighthouse complete with real rocks we collected at the beach.
- Step 5: Make is ongoing. Keep adding to it! This is an ongoing project at our house. You can add new sections to the city with additional flattened boxes. And have fun with the details. We used clothespins with bent green pipe cleaners for trees, hardened and painted playdough bushes, furniture leg felt stickers for a clock tower….Let it grow and evolve!
Soon enough your kids will ask to start playing with the city. We brought in an armful of matchbox cars, a helicopter, and a bunch of plastic animals. This inspired our zoo that is still in the works.Kids will find all sorts of ways to play with their new city! At one point we added dinosaurs and a Jurassic park, later a giant octopus and some zombies made an appearance to wreak havoc on the city. Enjoy!
- For more DIY Toys here on Babble Dabble Do check out: Zappy Zoomers, Paper Helicopters, and Tin Can Stilts!
- For more projects featuring recyclables check out our GIANT list of 100 of the Best Recycled Crafts for Kids.
- Check out how we supersized our cardboard city idea at camp!
I am in love with this project! My son is very excited to try it out. You could easily incorporate an architecture lesson, showing your children famous buildings, etc. and have them incorporate some of the ideas. They could even incorporate a few Claes Oldenburg-inspired outdoor sculptures like a lipstick or safety pin.