Mystery box building

mystery box small parts building kids crafts

This project is inspired by one of the projects in the fantastic kids craft book CARDBOARD CREATIONS by Barbara Rucci.

I love the totally open-ended nature of this project allowing children to explore their own creativity. By calling the project a 'Mystery Box' and creating a challenge to use everything in the box, my 5 yr old totally loved it. (It's all in the marketing!) If he managed to use all the items he got a little prize.

He was also super excited about getting to use the hot glue gun on his own and was very proud of his creations that he created independently. We have a low temperature hot glue gun so it's not crazy hot if it gets on the fingers.


  • Items from your household recycling like egg cartons, cardboard boxes, cardboard tubes, bottle tops or corks.
  • Items from the craft cupboard like wooden craft sticks, fabric scraps, pom poms or coloured paper scraps.
  • Items from around the house like wooden pegs, paper clips or slastic bands.
  • Glue - A hot glue gun or multi purpose craft glue
  • Scissors
  • Masking tape


Put everything in a box and then get building, there really are no rules or instructions. If you find your little one need a bit of help to get started you could always give them an open-ended prompt like 'make a building' or 'make a vehicle'.

Junk materials for craft

Child building with junk materialsHere are a few of his recent creations, this one is a rocket launcher.

kids craft junk building

And this one is a coffee machine!

Kids cardboard box junk building craft project


If you are looking for more crafty fun made using up-cycled materials check out our UP-CYCLED KIDS CRAFTS E-BOOK!

This e-book includes 20 awesome art & craft projects to make at home using items from from your household recycling and a few simple craft supplies. The book includes a selection of art projects, DIY toys and fun crafts, there is something for everyone.


up-cycled recycled kids craft ideas e-book by mini mad things