Developed by Laura Manriquez of Santa Barbara’s Kids Love Art! program. Used with permission.

The parents I know always remark after birthdays and holidays that their kids seem to have more fun with the BOXES than the toys inside. This activity makes boxes into toys with a visual/spatial project for the kids, too.

All you need is a standard sized moving box and tempera paints, but extra construction paper, paper towel rolls, cardboard, etc. can help make the kingdom more intricate and really flex those spatial smarts.

The resulting kingdom (or whatever your child wants the diorama to be…a firehouse…or fortress…or racetrack.) is the ideal size for Polly Pocket, LEGO people, Fisher-Price little people, GI Joes or matchbox cars to call home. Which is the real genius in this project—the Kingdom can also create a home on a shelf for all the little toys you have lying around the house.

Cardboard Kingdom