How to Make a Play Village from Food Cartons

From oatmeal box to oh-my-gosh cute!

By: Caylin Harris

Related To:

Pantry-Sourced Playtime

When it comes to fun at-home arts and crafts with kids, some of the best materials are already in your pantry. Round up some of your clean, dry empty cereal boxes and food cartons and work with your kids to make their own toys for a play village. Not only will they enjoy getting creative using things in new ways, this play village reduces your own waste by reusing something that would’ve otherwise gone into the recycling bin. When it comes to fun kid-centric crafts, it takes a play village!

What You'll Need

Empty food boxes/containers

Packing or masking tape

Scrapbook or construction paper


Hot glue


Glue stick


Optional: Faux trees, plants, and moss

Step One: Prep the Boxes

Start with clean, empty containers. Using your tape, seal the boxes or containers closed if necessary. On some boxes, if they have flaps on top, you can tape them together to form a roof.

Step Two: Wrap the Boxes in Paper

Using whatever color or textured of scrapbook paper you like (we used different brick patterns), wrap the boxes like you’d wrap a present. Kids might need a little help with this. If you prefer not to see the tape, adults can use hot glue to seal the edges.

Step Three: Prep the Windows and Doors

Now it’s time to add the decorative accessories. Draw windows and doors on colored and white paper. You can do this freehand or you can print out windows and outline them with your black marker. Cut them out and set aside. Cut a few strips from your scraps of paper to make the shutters too.

Step Four: Affix the Windows and Doors

Using your glue stick, glue the windows, doors, and shutters on each of the boxes wherever you think they’ll look best. Get creative!

Step Five: Raise the Roof

When it comes to making the roofs, you can use what you have on hand. If you have boxes that already have a roof shape from the folds of the box being taped together you can glue or tape pieces of streamers that have been cut to give the appearance of textured shingles. If you just want to use paper, cut a rectangle or triangle that’s the roughly the size of the container. Fold the rectangle in half and glue the inside of the triangle to the top of your box. If it’s a round container, roll your triangle and glue or tape the seam, then glue it to the top of the container.

Step Six: Assemble the Village

Set the boxes on a table where you can create the village. From there it’s all about the accents; add in little extras to bring your little village to life, including animal villagers, trees and other accents. Now, let the little ones play.

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