Building Up: Cardboard Tube Crafts


Are you looking for cardboard tube crafts for your early childhood classroom? Consider this one.


Domains or Early Learning Standards:
Mathematics and Social Studies Knowledge & Skills
Materials Needed:

Dreaming Up cover imageThe book, Dreaming UP

Collection of paper tubes (from wrapping paper, paper towels, etc) and cardboard (from cartons, food boxes, etc)

Adhesives (tape, glue, Velcro)​

After you’ve read through the book, Dreaming UP, revisit the spread that shows the Paper Tube School. Share with your students the interesting information about the school that is described in the end papers, at the back of the book.
      Activity:Build a structure using recycled paper tubes and cardboard as the primary building materials. Talk to the class about what type of structure could be built with these materials. Once you come to a consensus, start planning.


  1. Organize the materials that were collected
  2. Sort the tubes by size
  3. Flatten and cut cardboard pieces (with adult’s help) to manageable sizes
  4. Make a list of what you need to complete your project
  5. Plan to take pictures of the whole process starting with a picture of the raw materials. (This will become a great sequencing activity for later)


Vocabulary Boosters: Introduce these words and phrases early in the process and continue to use them during the building activity.


  1. Structure
  2. Columns
  3. Pillars
  4. Roof
  5. Entrance
  6. Exit
  7. Strong foundation


After the structure is built, you can embellish with other materials based on your students’ interests. This activity will last over a few days or weeks depending on the enthusiasm from the participants.