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How to Make a Play Tunnel for Kids

By Eric Jonas ; Updated April 18, 2017
Build a simple cardboard box tunnel for hours of playtime fun.

Play tunnels can provide young children with hours of active and pretend play fun. The tunnels are economical and easy to make and children can even get involved and help to build and decorate the tunnels. You can make a simple long tunnel or add some creativity with tall peak holes and fabric doors for extra playtime fun.

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Place a large cardboard box on a flat surface and cut off the top and bottom of the box to make a rectangular tube shape. Repeat this step with four more boxes.

Use a clear tape to join the open ends of three of the boxes together to form a long cardboard tunnel. Attach two more boxes to the tunnel with tape and then use a pair of scissors to cut the top piece off of the fourth box.

Cut just the bottom off of the sixth box. Use a plate to trace a circle on two sides of this box and cut out the circles.

Place the sixth box on top of the fourth box with the open end facing downward. Tape the box in place. This box acts as a peak hole during playtime.

Measure the circumference of one of the boxes and use this measurement to cut a piece of fabric long enough to encircle the box. It is alright if the fabric is too wide and covers some of the next box. Use a clear or white craft glue to attach the fabric to the first box. Repeat this step with a different colored or patterned fabric for each of the boxes and allow the glue to dry for 30 to 60 minutes.

Cut out the fabric that is covering the peak holes in the upper box. You can also make additional cutouts through the fabric and cardboard at various spots throughout the box to bring more light into the tunnel if you would like.

Measure the opening of one end of the tunnel and cut out a piece of fabric that measures approximately 1-inch longer on one side. Glue the extra 1 inch over top of the opening at the end of the tunnel. Repeat this step to make a fabric door for the other end of the tunnel.

Decorate the inside of the box with colorful crayons, pencil crayons or markers.

Things You Will Need

  • 6 large cardboard boxes
  • Clear tape
  • Scissors
  • Long pieces of colorful fabric
  • Clear or white craft glue


You can send the kids into the box with the coloring tools and some stickers for an afternoon activity.

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About the Author

Eric Jonas has been writing in small-business advertising and local community newsletters since 1998. Prior to his writing career, he became a licensed level II gas technician and continues to work in the field, also authoring educational newsletters for others in the business. Jonas is currently a graduate student with a Bachelor of Arts in English and rhetoric from McMaster University.

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