The Kids Went Dumpster Diving… in a Cardboard Box!

We have had a bunch of very large cardboard boxes around from a bathroom remodel. My husband wanted to recycle them right away… but nope, I had to sneak in an activity or two with them first before I could see them go.

My mom gave me this truly awesome idea for a big cardboard box.

Go dumpster diving!

I brought the big box in the house and filled it with trash.

Maybe not real trash. But newspapers and cereal boxes and other containers that I found in our recycling bin.

Not sure if you know, but if you’ve been reading for awhile, we really like to upcycle our recyclables before they leave the house. We have a stash we keep in the corner just for these kind of things.

Make a Cardboard box dumpster for the kids to dive in and find treasures.

While I was wadding up newspapers [to take up more room so I could fill the box], I asked Henry to find me 10 toy cars.

Sticky Spider Web ActivityFind other fun ways to play with newspapers. Make a sticky spider web to throw them into, or make it a newspaper throwing game!

I asked for a specific number because I wanted to make sure we knew how many there were so there wouldn’t be any lost.

I then sneakily hid those toy cars in the ‘dumpster’ cardboard box. I hid them in the containers and in the wads of newspapers.

Once I had the dumpster full, I dropped the boys in to find the 10 lost toy cars.

Make a Cardboard box dumpster for the kids to dive in and find treasures.

And that’s all it took for a morning full of giggles.

Giggles in the dumpster.

And all the lost toy cars were found. We double, probably triple checked to make sure.

I really thought they’d be super easy to find. But they literally had to completely empty the cardboard box to find the last one.

Find treasures in the cardboard box dumpster!

We’ve since taken the boxes outside and drew on them with chalk and made houses with them. Though I’m sure they weren’t houses to the boys… maybe castles, or forts, or garages…

Or make a cardboard box house.

Henry is 5 years old. George is 2.5 years old.


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  1. says

    This is hilarious! And a lot of fun, I bet! My son is really into a show that has a talking rat who enjoys things like “garbage buffets”, so this will be a fun thing to work into pretend play sometime. Thanks!

  2. says

    My kids would also love this. I just need to put my hands onto some big cardboard box :-) The last ones we had we used it to paint and make some play houses that stood in the living room for like 1 month before I could throw them. So my kids love boxes, and I’m sure they’ll love to have a treasure hunt in a big box :-)

  3. Jill says

    Funny. Reminds me of a book on my shelf: Christina Katerina & the Box by Patricia Lee Gauch. I bet your boys would enjoy it, too!

  4. says

    Absolutely love your ideas. Thanks for making wonderful inspiring site. Will stop over regularly to get more inspiration for my little monkeys.

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