Kids STEM ActivitiesOctober 10th 2018

Kids STEM activity: Cardboard tube blocks

STEM toys don’t need to be complex or expensive.  Simple materials used in a different way is the perfect approach to introduce STEM concepts to toddlers and school aged kids. 

With the launch of our new Ava the Architect doll I wanted to create a simple STEM activity that anyone could make at home – quickly and easily – to get constructing. Depending on the age of your child they can be the ones to make the cardboard tube blocks, help decorate or simply build with them.

Using familiar materials – paper, cardboard etc – in a new way helps to support creative play.  Kids aren’t trying to figure out what they are playing with and instead instantly start to create and make with it. 

I find using familiar materials is a great way to show Miss 2 a new concept or as an activity for independent play.  After I made these (and photographed them) she happily built some towers and then raced off to get some toy animals to create a zoo.

Lets make some Cardboard tube blocks!

You will need

  • Recycled cardboard tubes
  • Scissors

Step 1. Cut cardboard tubes in half or one third up the tube.

I wanted mine to be an assortment of sizes but you can cut them all the same if you would like them more uniform

Step 2. Slightly fold the tube in half to create a crease, then again to create 4 creases.

I do this rather than measuring but you can use a pencil and ruler if you like.


Snip up 15mm and move the scissors 5mm down and snip up 15mm to create a small flap.  Bend it outwards and cut off.

Continue to do this along each edge to create 4 slots on each end.

The thicker the gap the looser your tube blocks will slot together.  You can match them or have the slots alternating at each end.

They can now be painted or left plain like ours


This kids STEM activity can be used to promote:

Language skills: asking questions and inquiry, discussing procedural elements of the task, counting the tubes

Social skills: Sharing ideas, turn taking

Fine motor skills: manipulating materials, using tools to create shapes/cut

Please don’t forget to share your creations on social media using the hashtag #inspiredbyokdolls

Printables are for home and educator/classroom use.

Terms of use: Please do not edit artwork, crop or cut any graphic/logo/website of original.