Recycled Box Play

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Budget-Friendly Activities for Home Learning

Amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic crisis, we at Sprout recognize that it can be challenging to find Montessori inspired activities within a certain budget. We want to be a resource for Montessori inspired parents who continue to create budget-friendly, developmental activities for their children.

With all the at-home shopping we have all done for the holidays, I am sure you noticed a lot of cardboard boxes lying around! Rather than just recycle them, we decided it would be fun to get some use out of them first with various activities!

Your imaginative children love the open-ended play provided by Sprout products and we wanted to see how our Sprout cardboard boxes can be used to create eco-friendly, affordable activities that you can build at home.

Check out the examples below for some inspiration, and recreate one or design your own and share with us! 


Climbing Critter Treehouse

Collect toilet paper rolls and paper towel rolls as well as your Sprout box as materials for this activity. First, designate one side of the box as the base. Then use another side of the box to cut out several round ovals to act as the levels of the treehouse. Finally cut several ramps and slides from the cardboard to connect the various levels. Use tape or glue to attach the toilet paper rolls to the treehouse as stilts. 

Once the treehouse is constructed, you can use pom poms, cotton balls, or pipe cleaners to create critters or use toys that you already have on hand. To expand this activity to a sensory experience, place popcorn kernels in the base of the treehouse. 

 @create_make_and_play 4/25

I Spy Shapes

To create this cardboard activity, cut multiple magnifying glass tools out of cardboard. The end of each magnifying glass should be a different, recognizable shape like a circle, square, or triangle. Cut out the center of each shape so that your child has a hole to look through as they match it to corresponding objects.

Once you have completed your magnifying glasses. Gather objects with definitive shapes from around the house and practice matching them. Demonstrate to your child how to match the shape to the magnifying glass, and then let them try on their own.


Cardboard Home

There is nothing like imaginative play for a child’s brain! It helps them be more creative, problem solve, be more confident, and more. You could simply make a giant fort house like @whole.child.home did and make your little one a brand new homeowner! 


DIY Counting Board

To create this board, first cut out one side of your cardboard box to act as the base. Then, using another piece of cardboard, cut out ten strips that gradually increase in length, beginning from 1 inch and increasing to 10 inches in length. 

Using a black market, mark each strip with the corresponding number of dots to mark where pom poms should go. Label the base with the numbers 1-10 lining up each strip with a number.

This is a great DIY alternative to comparable counting boards available for purchase.


Sorting Box

Take a box and draw some faces on it, as many as you would like, with the mouths being shapes. Cut the mouths out, whatever size you would like, but big enough for your little one to be able to grab the paper to sort into the box. 

This works on shape/color recognition and fine motor skills!


We were originally inspired by @happylittlechildhood who used her Sprout box to create a DIY ball tracker. We love seeing our little Sprout tape included in this activity. Check out her post from 6/25/20 to see more! 

We can’t wait to see your creations on social media! How can you use cardboard to create learning activities? 

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