Buy or Make a Cardboard House or Castle for a Kids Party

by TerriRexson

A cardboard house, castle, rocket or other playhouse is great fun for a kids party or other event. Get ideas to make your own cardboard playhouse or choose a kit.

We've had lots of fun with cardboard playhouses! They make a brilliant decoration and activity at a kids birthday party.

They're great for entertaining kids indoors on a rainy day too.

On this page you'll find ideas for making your own house from scrap cardboard, and also ideas for buying a themed cardboard play house.

Cardboard House, Castle or Vehicle

Kids love a playhouse! A cardboard playhouse is an inexpensive way to make a kids birthday party memorable. 

You can either make your own cardboard house or castle (tips later) or buy one of the kits that is available. Most of the kits are suitable for kids to decorate with marker pens, stickers and other items. 

Cardboard Adventure Castle

Crafty Kids Adventure Castle

Cardboard Party Prop and Playhouse Ideas

There are lots of different cardboard structures you can make, depending on the theme of your party. Here are a few ideas:

  • A knights castle or princess castle. 
  • A rocket or spaceship
  • A pirate ship or boat for a pirate or ocean party
  • Vehicles: a train, plane, racing car or safari jeep
  • An animal hide or safari lodge 
  • A shrine for a Ninja or Martial arts party
  • A giant robot, transformer or monster
  • A barn for a barnyard party
  • A candy store or gingerbread house
  • Santa's grotto

Cardboard House or Castle Ideas

A cardboard house or castle make a fun addition to a kids party. Here are some ideas on how you can incorporate your playhouse into a party:

  • As a decoration to set the scene for the party. 
  • Use it as part of a themed treasure hunt with some of the treasures hidden inside. 
  • Let the kids decorate the structure with stickers, crayons and pens, or if you're outside, paint. 
  • Get older kids to actually help built the house as a party activity
  • Use the house or castle as a photo prop - get some of the kids inside looking out through the windows and others in front. 
  • Just let the kids play for a short time and have fun pretending. 

Cardboard Corrugated Carriage

Corrugated Carriage - Markers Included

Cardboard Shuttle Space Rocket

Crafty Kids Shuttle Imagination

Cardboard Pirate Ship

Pirate Ship - Markers Included

How to Make a Cardboard Playhouse

We've made a few cardboard playhouse and party props. The key is to plan ahead and have a design in mind before you do anything that can't be reversed. A few tips:

  • Draw windows and doors in pencil first and check against the height of a child. 
  • You don't necessarily need four walls. Can you place the structure in a corner so you only need two sides? 
  • Don't overthink it. As long as it's roughly the right shape the kids will love it. 
  • Bigger is better. Kids love big structures. This is where a homemade cardboard playhouse can win over one of the kits. 

Homemade playhouses aren't generally as easy to decorate as the kits - it's hard to get plain white cardboard for free. 

Here's the safari lodge or animal watching hide that we made for my son's African safari party for his 5th birthday. 

We used it as part of a safari treasure hunt, as a photo prop and to set the scene for an animal Safari. 

The structure had two walls plus a roof and was placed in a corner of the room. 

We used MakeDo (see below) to hold it together and it was very stable. It coped with a party of 14 kids and is still standing now. (I think we're going to have to redecorate it as a Christmas grotto!)

Where to Get Cardboard From

If you choose to make your own cardboard playhouse then you'll need to find some big pieces of cardboard. 

You might be lucky enough to get a large cardboard box with a child's birthday present if you buy something large like a playtable or outdoor play equipment. Or maybe you're buying a large household appliance or furniture. 

Otherwise, you'll need to ask around. Electrical warehouses are often a good source. How about your employer or other businesses in the area, do they have spare boxes? 

We get ours from my partner's work - they get computer equipment delivered in big boxes that they then need to get rid of. 

How to Make Cardboard Houses

We used to make cardboard houses using scissors and packing tape. That works okay and you might be able to use stuff you have around the house anyway. 

Then we found Make Do (or MakeDo) which is designed for making cardboard models. It has clips and pins to hold pieces together, a tool for making holes and cutting cardboard, and hinges for creating windows, doors and other moving parts. Very cool. It's quick and easy, very sturdy and means you can easily take the structure apart afterwards to recycle it. 

Make Do Find & Make Playhouse

Make Do Find & Make a Playhouse

More Cardboard Playhouses

You can also check ebay for cardboard playhouses. Look out for fairytale castles and space rockets as well as houses. 

More Birthday Party Ideas

Are you planning a birthday party for a child? Here are some tips and advice to make sure the party goes smoothly and the kids all have a great time.
Balloon modeling is a fun activity for a kids party. You can make balloon animals, pirate swords, balloon flowers and lots more.

Cool Birthday Party Themes

Are you having a Lego Star Wars Party? Find out about Lego Star Wars party supplies and get ideas for party games and activities.
A selection of my favorite knight and dragon party supplies for a fun medieval kids party. These work well if you have boys coming to a knights and princesses party too.
My favorite Ninja-themed party supplies and ideas for hosting a Ninja birthday party. My boys love Ninjas so this is a popular theme in our house!
Jake and the Never Land Pirates Party Supplies for a fun pirate party for little kids.
Updated: 02/17/2012, TerriRexson
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Have You Made a Cardboard Playhouse?

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emmalarkins on 11/09/2011

I think the old adage is true: kids often like the box something comes in better than the actual thing itself! I always used to love playing with big boxes. Imagination makes the best toy :)

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