Train Tracks Small World in a Cardboard Box

Turn a cardboard box into a giant small world play  scene, with drawn on train tracks and play elements made from everyday recycled materials. This is the perfect rainy afternoon fun set up and encourages creativity and imaginative play.train tracks small world play in a box


We all know that no child can resist the joyful allure of  the humble cardboard box! There are many posts on this site dedicated to ways to play with boxes, including our popular small world town in a box activity which had the girls sitting right in there amongst their play!

train tracks in a box small world play


Whenever a new box enters our life I get really excited about the possibilities. The girls still adore making play scenes from them, so when we got a new flat box last week it became a train tracks scene with added trains, cars, farm animals and more. I drew a really simple train track going around the box using a marker and left the pot of markers for them to add anything extra to the scene that they wanted.

cardboard tube train tunnel

Then we found a large cardboard tube and cut it in half to become two tunnels for the trains to drive through, which they loved! We also added an old cereal box with some simple windows and a door cut out, to become Central Station for the trains to terminate at.

cereal box train station

They chose what else to add, and found blocks for creating houses and buildings, arches from the castle set to make bridges, and people and animals to come and live in their small world Happy Town! In the middle of the scene we made Old MacDonald’s farm and lots of animals made an appearance, including a stray crocodile in the pond, ready to gobble up the swan! They played here all afternoon and again during the week, with adaptations made using pens and new toys to change the themes. Creativity and fantastic imaginative play that costs nothing!

playing with train tracks in box

What they are learning while they play:

creativity: using imaginations to create stories and act out scenarios, drawing and creating scenes in 2D and 3D, combining materials to represent other objects

literacy: storytelling, remaining in character and role during play, vocabulary from real life e.g. train, tracks, station, journey, tickets etc

Cakie: 4.6

Pop: 3.0

Bean: 13 months


  1. says

    I love those tunnels you made! We’ve drawn tracks on big paper like this, and made train layout building from cardboard, but never put them together. And the box adds a nice frame to the scene. Very cool. Pinning to a couple of my train boards.