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Five Crafts For Kids Using Recycled Cardboard

Spending more time at home brought attention to how quickly my daughter can go through our craft supplies.  I recently realized how many great resources are around the house from everyday life.  Instead of going to stores to buy prepackaged crafts that can add up so quickly, we have been saving everyday items and turning them into recycled projects! This has been budget-friendly as well as a great example of ways to recycle and reuse items. 

Recycled Cardboard Craft Ideas for Kids

Why Recycled Cardboard Crafts?

Cardboard is something we readily have on hand often. With so many delivery services, Amazon being our family’s most common, cardboard is often easy to come by and such a great crafting material. We are able to get multiple uses out of our cardboard crafts and my daughter loves playing with something she has made herself. Below are five easy DIY crafts we have made using everyday items around our house!

5 Kids Crafts Using Recycled Cardboard

Flower Stamps

These stamps were so much fun! Our favorite activity with them was filling the stamp with rainbow rice! It was so aesthetically pleasing as well as great fine motor work for the kids. My daughter could scoop and pour for days! We use this easy rainbow rice recipe. We also used these with playdough, kinetic sand, and paint! These stamps are a versatile material to have for activities!

  • Items needed:
    • Cardboard
    • Paper towel rolls
    • Hot glue gun
  • How to:
    • Cut your paper towel roll into 1 inch sections
    • Cut your cardboard into 4″x4″ squares
    • Cut 3″x1′ rectangles
    • Using your hot glue gun, arrange the paper towel roll pieces into various flower designs
    • Place a line of glue on each of the short rectangle sides, attach to the back of your stamp creating a handle.

Photo Box

This photo box is a great vocabulary tool for little ones, placing images of family members or different objects creates many opportunities for conversation. Opening and closing the different compartments practices different grips and also works on hand dexterity. For an added element, I varied the texture of the compartments to encourage more exploration.

  • Items needed:
    • Large Piece of Cardboard or a box
    • Wipe container tops
    • Cardboard for flaps
    • Hot glue gun
      • For added texture, I used rainbow rice, pom poms, aluminum foil and sticks from the backyard
  • How to:
    • First arrange your photos and decide your layout
    • Glue your photos to the base
    • Arrange the flaps around your photos and then glue. I alternated directions that the flaps opened to add a level of complexity.
    • Decorate the flaps with your sensory items and enjoy!

Sensory Board

Little ones are so curious about all the things in the world because after all, it is brand new! This sensory board has a variety of textures to explore along with some fine motor activities. Fine motor activities are smaller movements that help increase hand strength and dexterity; having strong hand muscles can help your little one with everyday tasks ranging from feeding themself to writing.

Sensory board

Sensory Board for Toddlers

  • Items needed:
    • cardboard
    • bubble wrap
    • toilet paper roll
    • pouch top and lid
    • aluminum foil
    • sponge
    • pom poms
    • pipe cleaners
    • kinetic sand
    • hot glue
  • How to:
    • Trace around the toilet paper roll and use a knife to cut out the circle.
    • Place hot glue around the circle and place the toilet paper roll inside. This will be for the pom pom transfer activity.
    • Use a knife to poke holes in a section, this will be for practicing fine motor skills. Children can either place the pipe cleaners in the holes or pull them out. My little guy’s favorite was pulling them out.
    • Cut a small circle and glue a clean pouch top. Then add the pouch lid and this is great to practice opening and closing in addition to gripping.
    • Glue remaining textures to your board. I opted for a sponge with both sides available to touch, bubble wrap, aluminum foil, and a baggie of kinetic sand.


The best part about this DIY is how inexpensive it is and how much use your children can get out of it. I enjoy setting up invitations to play for my children and I love for our crafts to have a purpose. My daughter is four years old and loves to play shop which led me to the idea of making popsicles.  She loved this set up so much and her little brother even joined in on the fun buying popsicles.

cardboard popsicle craft

Cardboard Popsicle Craft

Cardboard Popsicle Craft

  • Items needed:
    • Cardboard
    • Acrylic paint
    • Hot glue
    • Optional rainbow rice for decorative sprinkles
  • How to:
    • Draw outlines for your popsicles. I found they looked best with slightly rounded edges and I cut the sticks out separately.
    • Cut out the popsicles and sticks
    • Glue your sticks to each popsicle
    • Paint and decorate each popsicle to your liking.
      • In addition to creating the popsicles, I wrapped a cardboard box in construction paper. I then cut slits on the top for the popsicles to rest in and display them during our play!

Sensory stamps

This is the perfect combination of the flower stamps and the sensory board! These stamps are our favorite playdough tool and have lasted for months. When you combine these stamps with this homemade naturally dyed play dough recipe, it is such a cost-effective activity! 

homemade sensory stamps

homemade sensory stamps

  • Items needed:
    • Cardboard
    • Pouch lids
    • Bubble wrap
    • Zip ties
    • Hot glue
  •  How to:
    • Cut out 3″x3″ squares and 2″x1″ rectangles
    • Hot glue the rectangles on the back of your squares, this will make a handle
    • Attach your various textures to each square
    • Allow to dry and then enjoy in paint, playdough, kinetic sand, rainbow rice and more!

Never underestimate the possibilities of cardboard, it is so much more than just a box! Happy crafting!

Deborah D

Thursday 14th of March 2024

These crafts are so cute.

Amy D

Sunday 21st of May 2023

School is out, so I am looking for some "rainy day" crafts. We have a lot of cardboard boxes, so we can do a lot of these crafts. I especially love the cute popsicles and sensory stamps for my daughters.

Ashley Parks

Monday 13th of February 2023

I'm saving up cardboard right now to make a pinata, some Mario characters, and bricks for my little guy's 5th birthday party. I love the popsicles! That would be fun to make in the spring or summer!

gloria patterson

Saturday 11th of February 2023

Some nice ideals here that great niece would love to do

gloria patterson

Saturday 4th of February 2023

There are a lot of good ideals here. Next time great niece is here I am going to show her this.............. never know what she might decide we should make