Box Clever - Things you can do with an empty shoebox

Are you looking for eco-friendly projects ideas? Do you like to upcycle? – Then look no further!


A shoebox can provide hours of entertainment and educational value. Next time you think about throwing that shoebox into the recycle bin, why not try one of the following ideas.



  • Pretend Play Ideas:

Children love to pretend play. With a few stacked shoeboxes you can build the foundations of a small town. Children can paint the boxes as houses, draw little windows and cut out extra pieces to make the roof. Cardboard cut outs of cars and people can be added to the mix. The child will love to be able to build a town and make their imaginative characters come to life. Their mind develops from stimulation and the ability to learn how the world works through pretend play.


The fantasy world doesn’t have to just be a fantasy!

You can cut out your child’s favourite superhero, a couple of villains and let them save the town. Rapunzel doesn’t have to be just a fictional character; your child can recreate them and build a castle from a shoebox. Their prince or princess can rescue them and have a happily ever after. The possibilities are endless, just like their imagination. A pull along vehicle that can be made from a shoebox helps a child develop their motor skills. It may even encourage them to walk a little further.



  • Motor vehicles:

The child can paint the vehicle and draw on some windows. If the lid is taken off, then the child can put their favourite character inside. If you wish to make the vehicle more of a pull-along, you could pierce a hole, thread some rope and tie a loop for the child to hold onto. Include a few decorations on the vehicle of their choice and away they go. Watch them wander from room to room, their motor vehicle in tow.

You could even build on and create a petrol station or a car wash. If your child is quite a car enthusiast, why not make a garage out of a shoebox and draw on all the little tools?


For the trainspotters, you could create little platform stands out of shoeboxes and write on improvised station names. With adult supervision, you could loop together multiple boxes and create a carriage. The child can put their favourite teddy bear in or action figure and let them take their treasured toys for a guided tour of your house!




  • A spacecraft or aeroplane:

If the child wants to walk the moon and be an astronaut, cut out a wing or two and glue them onto the aircraft. Watch them reach for the stars!


  • Learn to tie laces:

With adult supervision, a simple outline of the child’s foot can be drawn and cut out. Once the cardboard pair is done, you can pierce appropriate holes and thread four laces (two for each foot). The child can even decorate it as a proper shoe and draw on their own styles. Watch as they learn from you about which holes to place the lace through and tie that finishing bow!


You can even cut out their favourite animal and apply the same method but have multiple-coloured strings to make it a little different.

Both of these methods help with their coordination skills. It can also help the child understand the process and sequence of events, as certain strings only thread or tie when another has been successfully threaded or tied.



  • Sensory Shoebox Ideas:

You can cut a hand-sized hole in the lid of the shoebox and fill the box with items that stimulate the senses by touch alone. It can include tissue paper, felt, pipe cleaners and soft toys. Sellotape the lid into place and then ask the child to put their hand inside. They can describe what they feel once they touch the item and even use words such as: rough, smooth, soft and hard. You can ask them to remove the item from the box to help them explain it in more detail about the feel of the object. This helps their brain process different textures and can help decipher ones they like and do not like.

This is a game in where you can alternate objects in order to keep their mind stimulated too.



Let us know in the comments below what you're going to transform your shoebox into!

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