Ideas for Making Cardboard Box Spaceships for Preschoolers

by Shelley Frost

An empty box often entertains a preschooler more than a toy, but building a cardboard rocket brings box play to a new level. The rocket replica made from boxes allows your preschooler to climb inside for hours of imaginative play. You can create this inexpensive play structure with a few simple materials.


Large cardboard boxes create the basic structure of the rocket. A large refrigerator box standing on its end makes a tall rocket structure. As an alternative, use the largest box you can find as the bottom and progressively smaller cardboard boxes to build a tall, tapered structure. Hot gluing or duct taping the boxes together secures the basic structure. Use a knife to cut a hole where the boxes meet so your preschooler has more vertical space inside.

Exterior Details

The details you add to the outside make the structure look less like a box and more like a rocket. The rocket tail fins are easily made from triangles of cardboard. Add one to each corner at the base of the rocket. A cone made from a large sheet of poster board and attached to the top adds to the rocket look. Painting and decorating the outside of the box rounds out the exterior details. Any colors you like will do. Let your preschooler help out with the decorating to make the rocket hers.

Interior Details

The interior details make the cardboard rocket a place your preschooler will want to play. A wall full of buttons creates the look of a rocket ship control panel. The cups from old egg cartons or bottle lids work well as the rocket buttons. Pictures of outer space taped to the walls make your preschooler feel like she's looking out of the rocket windows into space. Your preschooler's drawings on the inside of the box also work to decorate the rocket's interior.


A box of space-themed props inside the cardboard rocket encourages your child's imagination even further. Snow pants, boots, a puffy coat and a football helmet work as a makeshift space suit. Two plastic bottles taped together with straps make an oxygen tank for your space explorer. Printed constellation maps serve as a guide for his space flight. Binoculars, a camera and an American flag are useful for her space walks.

Photo Credits

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