Here's a parenting truth: No matter how cool the present, kids often just want to play with the packaging. Whether you recently bought a new dishwasher or just haven't disposed of the evidence from your latest Zappos shopping spree... Save. Those. Boxes. With a little DIY effort, you can transform them into amazing toys -- think princess castles, toy-car washes, race cars and more -- that your kids will still be playing with long after that present has been relegated to the bottom of the toy bin.
What You Need: Medium rectangular box, wood glue, X-acto knife, primer, red and black paint, small paint rollers, foam brush, painters tape.
How to Do It: Cut the box's shorter lid flaps at two angles, so the longer lid flaps can join with them to form a barn-shaped roof. Create fold-out barn doors by cutting completely through the box at the top and bottom of the doors, and along the middle seam, but only score the hinge-side of the doors from the inside of the box. Finish the roof by using wood glue to join the flaps together. Paint the entire barn with a basic primer (cardboard is very porous); then outline the windows and doors with painters tape, and paint the barn walls red and the roof black. Once it all dries and you remove the tape, herd your tot's favorite barnyard figures inside and get them settled in their new home.