Make a Cardboard Box Laptop
Here’s a fun cardboard box project that doubles as both a toy and a literacy learning activity! Kids will love pretending to type on their own laptop, and they can carry it around and play with it at no risk to your actual computer. Big win!
I made the laptop out of two sheets of cardboard the same size as each other. The tricky part was getting it to stay open at an angle, but Aidan helped me come up with a clever way of making it work with binder clips and a pencil.
Here’s what you need to make one:
- Cardboard – two 9″ x 11″ sheets
- 2 binder clips
- 1 pencil
- mailing labels
- A fine point Sharpie
- Black duct tape
After cutting out my two cardboard rectangles, I made the buttons for the keyboard out of mailing labels. Don’t these dot matrix labels bring back memories? I can only imagine how old they are… 15+ years for sure! I’m not even sure when we last owned a dot matrix printer.
I arranged the letters in the same order as a real keyboard.
Then I created a screen with strips of black duct tape on the other sheet of cardboard. If you wipe your scissors with a baby wipe first, they will slide right through the tape.
Then it was time to connect the two parts of the laptop. I taped two binder clips down to the keyboard as shown.
The binder clips alone were not quite enough to hold the screen of the laptop up at the right angle. So I taped an unsharpened pencil to the underside of each binder clip. It worked!
Then I put one piece of tape on the hinge of the laptop. Be sure to put the tape on with the laptop closed, otherwise it *won’t* close after you tape it!
Then I added one last strip of tape on the inside of the hinge. Again, make sure that the tape allows the laptop to fully open and close.
Typing on the computer was fun in and of itself, but I upped the educational level by making some word cards with words for Jonathan to type! He loved this even more than I thought he would.
He is still learning the alphabet, so this was more about letter recognition than about learning to spell. Also, I used both capitals and lower case letters on the cards, but the keyboard is all capital letters. He had to match up lower case to capitals in order to type, which was the perfect way to practice a new skill.
Then there are so many fun ways to play pretend with the computer! Type spy reports, pretend to be a police officer, Odd Squad agent, etc.
Have fun playing and learning!