Babies & ToddlersKids

Why do babies love playing with cardboard boxes?

Sensory play with cardboard boxes helps babies develop gross and fine motor skills, cognitive and language skills, and emotional skills.

What is it about the humble cardboard box that babies find so appealing? The answer lies in your child’s growth and development.

Babies’ skills develop, and their play becomes more complex between the ages of nine months and a year, around the same time they start learning how to crawl. At about this age, a simple cardboard box can provide limitless opportunities for experimentation and exploration.

The benefits of cardboard boxes 

Did you know that the cardboard box is actually in the National Toy Hall of Fame? That’s because cardboard boxes (and other recyclables) can help babies develop several crucial skills, including creativity, imagination, and resourcefulness, that other popular toys can’t. 

Don’t believe us? Simply place a box in front of your baby and see for yourself.

Exploring with a cardboard box, especially large-size boxes, provides several learning opportunities.

Spatial perception

Older babies will usually try to get into the box first, and there’s a reason for that. Children become aware of their bodies as they grow and wonder, “How big am I?” If the box is big enough, babies will try to crawl into them, over, under, around, and even through them.

Security and comfort

Children are soothed by the sensation of being bundled or embraced. This is referred to as “denning”. It’s a subconscious desire to return to the safety of the womb. As they play, they will feel safe and comfortable within the simple confines of a larger cardboard box.


Consider yourself the smallest person in the room, especially at home. Everything is made to fit larger people and bodies. Children feel BIG in small spaces. Cardboard boxes are also lightweight, and babies can move and manipulate an object that is potentially larger than them. It bows to their will.


Unstructured play is essential for babies, and giving them a cardboard box is the ideal way for them to explore the limitless possibilities of their imagination. Let your baby decide how to play with their box. Active and self-directed exploration is not only engaging but educational, too. 

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