The other day, I unearthed a long-forgotten gift to my daughter: a colour-me cardboard house that I promptly popped into 3D form, set next to some tempera paints, and called my girl over to remodel. The next hour and a half was the quietest quiet I’ve experienced in… oh, I don’t know how long!
Petra worked attentively, brushing on colour after colour, creating a whimsical house the likes of which a real-life neighborhood has never seen. After she was done, I peeked at Amazon to see what other structures were available for her vivid imagination to bring to life (I’m thinking a springtime art project on the lawn). Of course, she looked over my shoulder and said yes to all of them, so even though I’m only buying one for her, I thought I’d share our top picks.
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I don’t always like colouring book illustrations because my feeling is that children don’t need lines, buuuut Petra’s eyes were saucers at this thing. It’s the Colouring Cardboard Playhouse by Oycs and I too remember loving the feeling of filling shapes up perfectly so hey, I get it.
Also by Ocys is this incredible rocket that Petra wasn’t as enthused about as I was. LOOK AT THIS THING. All of the Ocys ones are 100% recycled cardboard and fit together without glue, kind of like the little house Petra painted. Important to note that this one would be a good size for a teddy or doll, whereas the playhouse can actually accommodate a child crawling through its door.
The Discovery Kids Cardboard Playhouse has cute features like a mailbox and garden, plus shutters that open which is pretty darn cute.
This might not seem as exciting to you (or Petra), but the blank space for free play makes the Easy Play Castle my favourite on the list. Plus, when your kid completes one side, you can just reverse it and there’s another area on which to create. I try to make this sort of thing out of boxes sometimes and you know what? It just does not look like this. And there’s writing all over it. For a birthday party activity, I’m all about ordering this.
One more from Oycs is this super cute submarine which kids can easily crawl into for play. I can SO see my one-year-old Paris getting a kick out of all the peek-a-boo opportunities.
Although I can’t imagine buying the Alex Color A Dog House kit for my daughter because we don’t need the 6 extra markers that come with it, I would buy it as a gift or to pack for a rainy day during a lake holiday.
Then there are a few cardboard structures that aren’t paintable but are just TOO CUTE to leave off the list, like the Melissa and Doug Food Truck…
…and this incredible cardboard play structure by Fantasy Fort that kids can put together in different configurations with connectors and velcro. Oh man, I would have played the hell out of this as a kid.
So? Any of them strike your fancy? I’m leaning toward the submarine because the kids are so obsessed with the Yellow Submarine album lately. But the best part of any of them, besides the creative play these cardboard structures will see of course, is that at the end of their life you’re not stuck with a bunch of plastic.