Your preschooler can fly the Jolly Roger proudly as he patrols your living room.

How to Make a Pirate Ship for Kids From a Box

by Piaf Azul

If you've just gotten a new fridge, chances are you've also gotten a giant carboard box, which is much more exciting to your child than the appliance that came in it. With a little effort, and a lot of duct tape, you can transform that box into a pirate ship that'll have your preschooler reaching for his eyepatch and ordering you to walk the plank.

Position the box horizontally on the floor, then cut out the top rectangle of cardboard, leaving a large opening for your child to step into. If necessary, reinforce the seams of the box with a layer of duct tape.

Cut a circular steering wheel out of the cardboard you have just removed from the box. Punch a hole in the center of it with the end of a pair of scissors and thread it onto a wooden chopstick. Make sure the hole is big enough to allow the steering wheel to rotate freely.

Duct tape the bottom of the chopstick to one of the shorter sides of the box, leaving the steering wheel protuding above the cardboard. This will be the front of the ship.

Draw a Jolly Roger on the scrap of fabric with a permanent marker. Attach it to the end of a wrapping paper tube to form a flag. Duct tape the tube to the side of the box opposite the side that has the steering wheel, to attach the flag to the back of the ship.

Paint the sides of the box brown, leaving horizontal streaks to resemble the wooden boards on a real pirate ship.

Items you will need

  • Extra large cardboard box
  • Heavy-duty scissors
  • Wooden chopstick
  • Duct tape
  • Scraps of fabric
  • Permanent markers
  • Wrapping paper tube
  • Paint


  • Warn your child that the pirate ship is not sturdy enough to withstand rough play.

About the Author

Piaf Azul is a writer based in Austin, Texas. Since 2000, her work has appeared on numerous websites, including A Healthy Me, My Online Wellness and CVS Caremark. Azul is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Latin American studies.

Photo Credits

  • Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images