The cardboard playhouse is a classic for kids. Who doesn’t have a mental picture of kids playing in an old refrigerator box?
But you don’t have to wait for your next large appliance purchase to make a cardboard playhouse. Go talk to a manager at your local Home Depot or similar store, and ask about having a box saved for you. Every night the night crew opens up a lot of boxes, and some are great for making playhouses. All they’re going to do with it otherwise is crush it with other boxes and tie up for recycling. Stores are often cooperative with this kind of request.
We did this for my daughter, and the box lasted about 3 years. We got a double thickness cardboard box, and my husband cut out a door and some windows, with some packing tape to close up the top.
The cardboard playhouse has a lot of advantages over the plastic ones that are so popular:
- They’re not plastic!
Yes, quite obvious from an environmental standpoint. Much better to use a box that has already been made than to buy some plastic in a box.
All these cost is some time. Looking at the hard plastic playhouses on Amazon, many run $150, $200 or more. Even the tent style ones are often over $50. They have a white cardboard playhouse in the $30 range for those who don’t want to cut out their own. But I’ve seen those in person, and you can get much more interesting doing it yourself, not to mention getting a larger playhouse that falls neatly into the ‘reuse’ category.
- Encourages creativity in more ways
A plastic playhouse encourages creativity quite nicely, but a cardboard one has more room for creativity yet. Not only does it not look like any particular kind of house, but it can be colored on, painted, or whatever the kids want to do.
While these do take some effort (cutting through cardboard, especially if you get double thickness isn’t easy!), I think it is much worth it. The double thickness is strong enough that kids can climb on top of their playhouse if you’ve taped it up well at the flaps. If you have to move, it’s nicelycollapseable. It’s one of the best toys I can think to give to young children.