DIY Project for Your Train-Loving, Car-Racing Kid

My son love trains!  He loves his Thomas Trains and Chuggington!  But one of my best investments wasn’t something I bought in the store.  It was a simple cardboard box made into train tunnels, caves and roads for his cars.  The best part?  You can most likely make it with what is already in your house.  No special skills needed!

* * Let me first say that the black squiggles were done with my computer’s paint program because I was unable to obtain permission to use the copyrighted Chuggington images from Disney on the blog.   You’ll see why later.

For some odd reason, my son calls this “The Sports Enough Tunnel.”  I don’t have the faintest idea of why, but I’m guessing he heard something to that effect on one of the train shows.  So out of ease, I have started calling it that too.

How I Made the “Sports Enough Tunnel”

1.  This box was given to me exactly as is (open bottom and slotted opening in the top).  It really was the perfect set up because the kids can reach down inside to maneuver the trains.  I started by cutting out the tunnels on each side.

2.  I used black electrical tape to create the roads and Wite-Out Correction Tape for the dashed white lines.  The Disney CARS are pull-back, so they go flying off the road (pretty cool!).  The red electrical tape I added was just for fun.  Safety Update:  I have since found out from a wonderful reader that PVC electrical tape has lead in it!  Use Black Duct Tape for the roads and other colors for added detail.

3.  I printed coloring pages from Disney Junior (go here for the Chuggington printables), resized them in my scanner and then traced them onto the box.  A fine tip gel pen (I used these pens) and a lot of patience is all you need!  Even though the images are printables, they are still copyrighted, hence my squiggles for the blog pictures.

4.  Out came the crayons and markers to draw and color tunnels, caves, trees and more.  Each time I added a new feature, my son was elated!

I can’t even tell you the hours spent playing with this BOX.  It has been better than I could have imagined . . . and really, that was all it took . . . a little imagination.  
Related Post:  
It Takes a Village . . . of Cardboard Boxes  (yes, you really can make anything into a party!!)


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  1. Great idea!! Sounds like a lucky boy.

  2. Wow!
    I rarely think of anything this cool on my own! Thanks for sharing 🙂
    Stopping by from Big Family Friday.

  3. This is very clever. I bet he had a blast with it. Jodi @

  4. This is brilliant! I saw you at Tutus and Tea Parties–I’m going to pin this post and feature it on my PreschoolPowolPackets Facebook page! I’m also going to make it with my kids…they will LOVE it!!

  5. Thanks everyone! My son is still playing with it. A great investment! 🙂 And thanks Carla!

  6. I need to show this to my son tomorrow after school. I’m sure it will get his wheels turning! Thanks for sharing!

  7. This is such a cute idea! We are moving soon and will have lots of boxes for the kids to play with!!

  8. I can already imagine how much fun my kid will have trying to shoot the cars through the tunnel and out the other side!

  9. Super cute! If I had kids to craft for, I’m sure I’d have a ball making them something like this. 🙂

  10. fun idea.. love it! pinning it for reminder when my next pampers box comes.. 🙂
    thanks for linking up at friday fun party

  11. Hey Kristen! I’m sharing our box we made over on my blog tomorrow. 🙂 We love this box play idea!

  12. I saw your post on FB this morning and I love, love, love it! I’m a pediatric speech-language pathologist and specialize in working with toddlers birth to 4 and I play with cars and trains all day long in therapy with my little friends. I’m linking your blog on my FB page today for my website and pinning it on Pinterest. Playing with trains and cars are appealing to broad range of kids, even those with developmental challenges. This was such a creative idea that many moms and therapists can do and it looks like so much fun! Thanks so much! Laura Mize, M.S., CCC-SLP

    • Hi Laura, You have an amazing job! I’m so glad that it will work in your therapy with kids! I’d love to see a picture of it when you are done. And thanks for sharing it on FB and Pinterest. 🙂

  13. Kristina says:

    I tried this for my son and he loves it! It was a fun project for me and my little sister to create and very cheap!

  14. Thanks for this idea! I made a (much less fancy) version for my 4 year old twin boys this morning and they played with it for over an HOUR! WOW! We made Tidmouth Sheds on one side for the trains to park and the boys had their train tracks going in and out of the tunnels. Thanks for posting. I found this on Pintrest. 🙂

  15. Hi,
    I have made my own car “racing and lot of others things stuff” for my 2 years old son and he loves :

  16. Great idea! You should share this on my weekly link-up Eco Kids Tuesdays:

  17. Hi! I loved this game so much! I featured you on my blog post “Recycle cardboards and make games for kids!” .You can see it here
    I would love your feedback! Have a nice day!

  18. My son Brent Have trains too like Thomas and Friends collections. He used to play it before but now It’ seem he doesn’t care anymore. I will make this box and make it a surprise for him. I hope it work. Funbrain

  19. Hi! I stumbled on this post from Pinterest and loved it. Just featured you on the Stay-at-Home Mommylogues ( Thanks for this great idea! Can’t wait to follow your future posts.

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  23. maliha naeem says:

    i will make this for my science fair. you are amazing, i hope i had a talent like you.

  24. Love it. Boxes are the best, I have made caves, boats, pirate ships, cars, trains out of boxes. Now a train/car box cave! thanks for sharing.

  25. This is too cool, and I have also been finding allot of avtivities for BOTH of our kids, we can’t wait to do this and more so plz continues to share