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Jumbo Cardboard Boxes

Here at Wicken, thanks to frequent deliveries of jumbo sized products we are often knee-deep in cardboard boxes. Right now you are probably experiencing the same cardboard overload thanks to the packaging delivered by Father Christmas.

Due to the Bank Holidays you might have quite a wait until the binmen take your recycling away, so until you can rid your house of this excess rubbish, here are some cardboard upcycling ideas you can try out with the family.

#1. Gas Pump If your child has a go-kart add a new dimension to their outdoor play with a home made petrol pump. One tall cardboard box or two cube boxes stacked on top of each other will create the perfect shape, then use crayons or paints to decorate it. An old strip of hosepipe, or some empty kitchen rolls taped together can serve as the filling hose.

#2. Kitchenette Tape two boxes side by side to create a kitchenette with a cooker and sink. For the sink, cut out the top of the box and drop in a washing up bowl. For the cooker, draw on the knobs and hob, and cut out a drop down flap to act as the oven door. Use indoors, or in the warmer weather, this makes a chap accessory for a playhouse.

#3. Washing Machine Play kitchens very rarely come with a washing machine included. Luckily this is one of the easiest toys to make from a cardboard box. All you need to do is cut out a door shape from the front, leaving one edge in tact as the hinge, then draw the dials across the top.

#4. Teddy Bed Another great playhouse accessory in the doll / teddy bed, which is simply a rectangular cardboard box, with the top cut off, and filled with comfortable sheets and blankets.

#5. Snowman No snow outside to build a snowman? No problem. Stack three boxes of decreasing size on top of each other, paint white, and add clothes, to create an indoor snowman.

#6. Thank You Postbox Paint a box red, and add a slit big enough for a regular sized envelope, then decorate with tinsel. Tell the children this is a very special Christmas postbox which they need to post their thank-you cards for Father Christmas into. Overnight a Christmas elf will take the box back to the North Pole so the big man can see how happy all the children were with their presents.

#7. Shape Sorter Make a giant version of a toddler's shape sorter, by cutting different sized and shaped holes out of the sides of a large box. Outline the edges of the holes with different colours, then provide a selection of child-friendly objects that may or may not fit through each hole. Allow your child to experiment for a while, before asking them to make predictions about which holes each object will fit through.

#8. Toy Train Use a bigger box as the train engine, then attach smaller boxes behind to act as the carriages for dolls and teddies.

#9 Road Map Flatten out a large box and use felt tips to mark out a road map for toy cars to follow. You can use smaller boxes to create buildings for your new cardboard city.

#10 Hopscotch Grid Use felt pens or crayons to draw out a hopscotch grid so you can play hop, skip and jump indoors.

For more play inspiration throughout the year, whatever the weather, visit the Wicken Toys blog.

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