4 Creative Language-Building Activities with Cardboard Boxes

kids using language skills and playing inside cardboard box

With online shopping and delivery services, it can be easy to build up a collection of cardboard boxes at home. Before you throw them in the bin, why not consider using the boxes for fun language-enriching activities at home? We’ve provided a few easy-to-create cardboard box activities for you to use with your child below. No matter which activity you choose, the most important thing to remember is to provide your child with models of your language usage during play. Children learn best when they are able to see your example! 

Here are a few language activities to get you started!

kids playing in cardboard box train

Transportation Play: Use a cardboard box to make any vehicle such as a train, plane, car, boat, or bus. The child can sit in their “vehicle” and you can even move them around! During play you can target language skills including: requesting movement (more, stop/ go, high/low, fast/slow), imitating vehicle sounds (beep, honk, zoom, choo choo) and imitating actions while moving the vehicle. Specific vocabulary to focus on can be parts of vehicles (horn, wheels, seats) and actions (drive, fly, float).

kids playing with cardboard box house

Household Play: Make a pretend house with a cardboard box. The child can even decorate their “house” with stickers, markers, and crayons. Next, you can play house within the space! Language skills that can be focused on during this activity include: asking for items to decorate and/or use in their home, using action words (opening/ shutting the door, cooking in the kitchen), sequencing routines (going to sleep and waking up, greeting guests into the home) and using prepositions (in/out, on, over/ under). Focus on specific vocabulary that your child is familiar with like household items (rooms, furniture, cutlery, dishes, foods).

cardboard box grocery store

Business Play: Make a pretend business with the box such as a vet, grocery store, or candy shop. Whatever your child is interested in! Again, you can help your child decorate their business. You can also use items from around the house to help with their business, such as a stuffed animal for the vet. While playing, you can focus on language skills including requesting (items and help), sequencing routines the child is familiar with (checking out at store), greeting customers at their business and action words (paying/ checking out, shopping). Use vocabulary pertaining to the child’s business like animal names or sounds for a vet, or specific foods for a grocery store!

cardboard box instrument

Music: Cardboard boxes also make great instruments, particularly drums! This activity can be great for any age, but especially for little ones! While drumming, you can work on language and play skills including joint attention, imitation of drumming, production of environmental sounds (boom, clap, hit, tap), requesting actions (more, stop, fast, slow) or songs, opposites (loud/ quiet, big (big drum hit)/ small (little drumming), hard/ soft), and turn taking.

Remember to have fun, be creative, and cater these activities to your child’s individual interests. For even more cardboard box activities, click here. To learn more about how the Clubhouse can help jumpstart your child’s speech and language skills, check out our Speech Services!

Written by Katie Pasicznyuk, M.S., CCC-SLP


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