A clever cardboard Christmas
Christmas is fast approaching and with it the shop shelves are filling up with all manner of plastic toys, games, trinkets and stocking fillers. Many of these gifts will be played with until their novelty wears off and then discarded, or litter toy boxes and bedrooms floors with hundreds of tiny pieces of plastic.
The festive season is a wonderful time, and children make it magical. But anyone concerned with the damage to the planet from the manufacture and disposal of plastic toys will be unsettled be the frenzy of excessive consumerism at this time of year.
As a mother of two, I’ve always been delighted by the fact that small children are often more interested in the empty cardboard boxes that the toys came in than the all singing all dancing toy itself. Proof that children love to engage their imaginations and need a blanker canvas on which to project.
Thankfully there are now a wide range of toys being designed with longevity and sustainability in mind. But you can’t go wrong with a toy made from cardboard. Durable and recyclable, and with plenty of scope for imagination, here I’ve included some of the smartest kids cardboard toys on the market, plus some you can make at home. Enjoy!
I have made a variety of playhouses and princess castles over the years for my daughter but this beautiful example puts my home made efforts to shame. ikatbag shows just how creative you can get with some cardboard, some beads, some remnants of fabric, a little time and a fair chunk of creative ability! There is a step by step tutorial for those brave enough to have a go.
Children often turn cardboard boxes into cars. I recently came across this cardboard VW camper bench made by VWHeritage at an exhibition. I spoke to marketing manager Andy and he said that there is often so much unnecessary waste associated with these kinds of shows, they wanted to avoid that and create a display that could be used again, or recycled after use. Unfortunately these are not on sale but if your little ones are car crazy you can buy this dream machine online which they can paint and decorate themselves.
Did you ever pick up your dad’s tennis racket and pretend it was a guitar? Kids love playing bands and these brilliantly designed cardboard guitars are the next generation in pretend instruments. They aren’t too complicated to put together. You can find step by step instructions at this great doing and making site Make it – Love it.
For a wide range of eco kids toys made from cardboard visit cardboardtoys.com. These affordable cardboard toys and playhouses; designed and manufactured in the UK from recycled biodegradable corrugated cardboard are great for imaginative self-decoration and role play. The company even run regular competitions so children can showcase their design talents and enter the Kids Eco Hall of Fame.
Recycling and Upcycling
On the inspiring Red Ted Art blog you’ll find a whole host of simple ideas for getting creative with your kids and recycling cardboard and upcycling all manner of left over household materials. From mini robots made from small boxes to a cardboard theatre, ‘how to’ instructions are provided so that getting crafty with card was never so easy.
Stylish and sustainable
If you’re whizz with a cutting knife and a measuring tape you might want to have a go at making this stylish circular cardboard shelf unit I found at instructables. Perfect for housing books, toys and children’s ornaments they look neat in a nursery or children’s bedroom. This site has a whole section devoted to cardboard furniture.