Cardboard is inexpensive, plentiful, and just right for a two-year-old getting into new kinds of pretend play. If you have some extra lying around, there are all kinds of fun ways to make use of it.
Here are four cardboard activities for your two-year-old:
Free colouring inside a big box
There’s a lot of “no” in a two-year-old’s life. Giving your child permission to do the things they aren’t typically allowed to do, like drawing on walls, ceilings, and floors, lets them experiment without restrictions (or property damage 😉).
- The next time you get a large package in the mail, save the box (the bigger, the better).
- Set it up, so your child can walk, crawl, or climb in easily, and explain that this is a special place where they can draw on all the surfaces.
- The washable, fast-dry paint sticks in The Helper Play Kit are ideal for drawing on cardboard: they work like markers, but with the colour saturation of paint.
- Consider letting your child have some clothes-free time, so they can really get messy 🙃
Fairy light playhouse
Another great use for a large cardboard box is to make a fort, which becomes a wonderful place for your child to explore, play pretend, and experiment with light. This makeshift playhouse becomes even more magical when you poke “fairy lights” through the roof.
If you don’t have a large box, you can still use a single sheet of cardboard for the lights: place it up high in a room (propped up across the tops of two chairs, for example).
- Get out some string lights—preferably ones with batteries, so you don’t need to plug them in—then poke holes in the “roof” and stick the lights through.
- Set up the box, so your child can easily crawl in, and consider cutting a flap they can use as a door. It’s nice to be able to make it dark inside, but make sure your child can easily get in and out.
- Make the space even more inviting by hanging up a scarf or other fabric as a curtain, putting a pillow down, and adding books, toys, and other comfort items.
- You can show them how to turn the lights on and off, and offer them a flashlight to play with (don’t forget Flashlight Rule #1: we never shine it at anyone’s face) 🔦
Lacing and threading with cardboard
Lacing and threading are great fine-motor activities that encourage precision and resilience—using colourful yarn and fun shapes provides a great opportunity for your child to get creative. This is a project that older siblings, friends, and even adults can easily join in on, but it also lends itself well to independent play.
- Gather some used cardboard, scissors, a ball of yarn (or string), a hole punch, and some tape. This activity is a great way to recycle cereal boxes, as the cardboard is thin and there are images to cut out.
- Cut the cardboard into fun shapes and punch holes along their perimeters. You can use simple geometric shapes like triangles, circles, and squares, or get creative with flowers, trees, or butterflies. Anything works.
- Cut several lengths of yarn—two feet is about right—and consider taping the ends (like a shoelace) for easier lacing; this is called an aglet 🤓
- Show your child how to thread the aglet through a hole and let them “sew” freely. If they are up for a challenge, you can teach them how to lace along the perimeter of a shape.
Cardboard Building Pieces
As your child starts to work with more complex puzzles and build structures requiring more refined fine motor skills, these simple cardboard squares make ideal building pieces. This works with any type of cardboard or card stock.
- Cut your cardboard into small squares, circles, and triangles—3” x 3” works well for the squares. Cut a small slit about ½ inch long into each side.
- Show your child how to join the pieces by sliding them together where the slits are.
- Your child can build with the pieces in a free-form way, or you can give them a specific challenge, like building the longest structure they can. For pattern recognition practice, encourage your child to build a structure that alternates between the different shapes you’ve given them (for example, triangle, square, triangle, square).
In this post
The Play Kits
The Play Kits by Lovevery are thoroughly tested, baby safe, eco-friendly and Montessori inspired. Give your child the best start with our stage-based play toy subscription boxes.Learn more
34 - 36 Months
How to Montessori your bathroom, by @our.montessori.journey
Some small tweaks to your bathroom can help set up your toddler for success, with toileting, handwashing, bathtime, and more.
34 - 36 Months
RIE, Montessori, Reggio Emilia, & more—making sense of the methods, by Lovevery CEO Jessica Rolph
We compiled this guide to different early childhood philosophies to help you make informed decisions about childcare.
34 - 36 Months
Is your child ready for a “big kid bed?”
Ultimately the decision is up to you, but here are some ways to notice and support your child's readiness to transition a crib to a bed.