Making Usable Cardboard Items

Students will create usable items such as bookmarks, doorknob signs, and postcards out of discarded materials.

Cardboard boxes (such as cereal boxes, gift boxes, snack food boxes) collected from home
Markers and other art materials if desired


“What is used to make these boxes? Yes, cardboard. When you are finished with the item inside, what do you do with this box? Is there something else we can do with this box?” List the students’ ideas, because you may want to make those too!


Display (if you have them) a postcard, a bookmark, and a doorknob sign. Comment on what they are made of and instead of buying these items, ask students what else could be done.
-Demonstrate how you can cut a cereal box into a postcard shape that they can mail to family or friends. Keep in mind to cut out a piece with a nice picture.
-Demonstrate cutting off another piece to make a bookmark. Tie a discarded piece of string from a parcel to the top of the bookmark.
-Demonstrate how to make a doorknob sign. Cut a rectangle. Cut a slit at the top. At the bottom of the slit, cut a circle to fit around the doorknob.
-Students make their own items and decorate. Remember to write messages to help protect the environment.

One idea would be to have the students make one doorknob sign for each classroom that says, “Remember to turn off the lights!”

Students share what they created
If everyone makes a postcard you can tie this in with the process of letter writing and letter mailing.
If everyone makes a doorknob sign, you can visit the other classrooms and present them as gifts.
If everyone makes a bookmark, these can be used during reading time or given as gifts.

Teacher observation
Student participation