Easy to Make Cardboard Box Playhouse

A playhouse for the kids is a fun DIY that starts with a large cardboard box. This is a great family project that inspires awesome pretend play.

Cardboard box play house to make for toddler and preschooler

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Pretend play is an important part of a child's development. It engages skills in hands-on ways, while dealing with real life issues, simply by playing.

A large cardboard box is a great prop for initiating pretend play. The structure can become a tiny house, a library, a corner store, or even a bear cave.

A cozy little house is an invitation to play that is hard for any toddler or preschooler to resist! 

It's not only fun for kids, it's a creative way to support early childhood skills. Here are just some of the benefits of pretend play with a cardboard box house.

  • Story telling and role playing promote language skills
  • Planning and problem solving engage cognitive skills.
  • Working with materials strengthens fine motor skills.
  • Crawling in and out of the play house provides gross motor play.

 Start the play and learning today!

Cardboard box playhouse

This might be the easiest design ever for a kids playhouse - no special tools or a lot of time needed.

You can create a cozy play area with the help of your toddler or preschooler. You'll be providing opportunities for hands-on learning with planning and building the house together.



Big box recycled playhouse

1. Set a large cardboard box on its side.

2. Extend the flaps on four sides to make a roomy nook for your toddler or preschooler.

3. Tape the box flaps together at the corners to support the roof and keep the sides in place.


Play house with window DIY


4. Cut a window in the wall with scissors or a craft knife.


 Fabric covered box play house for kids


5. Cover the sides completely with pieces of fabric.

I used a stretchy fabric to cover the tiny house. The fabric attached nicely to the box with just a glue stick, but use a glue gun or tape if preferred. Some glue guns are kid-friendly which is beneficial if kids will be helping.

I cut all fabric edges with pinking shears (optional) to help reduce fraying, but it also adds a nicely finished edge.

If you don't have a piece of fabric large enough to cover the side you can make a pattern with several smaller pieces. 

 Window in kids homemade tiny house


6. Locate the center of the window opening and make a cut in the fabric with scissors.

Cut away the fabric to reveal the window opening, leaving a 2 inch (5 cm) border that can be folded back on all four edges of the window (see photo below).


Homemade play house from a cardboard boxOutside view                                     


Play house with window for kids

Inside view                                      


Tape the fabric on the inside to secure. This will create a nice finished look around the window.


Homemade play house with fabric and big box


7. Cover the roof with fabric shingles (roofing tiles).

We cut roofing tiles from some discarded t-shirts. We used a few different shades of red. The tiles measure 7 x 11 inches (18 x 28 cm)and 7 x 6 inches (18 x 15 cm).

Part of the project is designing the pattern of roofing tiles, including overlapping the tiles.


 8. Make a window curtain.

Play house for kids DiY with window and curtain


Cut a piece of fabric twice as wide as the window opening, and a little longer than the window opening.

Cut down the center of the fabric with pinking shears, leaving a 2 inch (5 cm) edge at the top.


Toddler play house with window and curtain


9. Tape or glue the curtains to the window.

Make pleats in the fabric as you tape the curtain to the wall of the house. This makes a nice full curtain. 

You can sew pleats by hand or sewing machine before attaching to the wall if preferred. 

Draw the curtain open on either side. Secure with strips of fabric (tie backs) taped to the house wall.


Easy to make play house with cardboard box


Add toys, pillows, blankets and books and you have a cozy playhouse ready for some fun pretend play!


 Pretend Play on Pinterest



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