Toilet Paper Roll Architecture Activity

TP Roll Architecture Activity

We use a lot of toilet paper at this house.   With two newly potty-trained kiddos and one who is fascinated with all things potty, together use far more toilet paper than ever is necessary.   My hubby thinks I’m crazy to keep all the leftover tubes of toilet paper, and my kids love getting to play and explore with our box of tubes!   I love “free” toys!   We recently had an elementary-aged neighbor over and our TP tube creations became much more elaborate than previous building ventures. All you need for an hour of fun learning is a collection of tubes.     We also added index cards to make the structure more sturdy.


We learned that not all toilet paper tubes (even if you consistently buy the same brand) are the same height.   Before we began we sorted the tubes – short ones in one pile, taller ones in another.   My son loved picking all the scraps of leftover paper off the tubes.


Then we had great fun experimenting.   Is it easier to build the tubes one on top of another, or one on top of a group?   I loved watching them figure out weight distribution.   It was easier to balance a tube on the intersection of three other tubes.   We also learned that it is difficult to stack tubes on top of each other if they are laying on their side… but not impossible.   My son is a quick problem solver and figured out that he could bend the tubes to make them better building surfaces.


Have you played with your trash lately?


  1. JDaniel4's Mom says:

    This is such a great activity! I will need to save tubes to try this with JDaniel.

  2. I’ve been a bit to cleaning oriented lately to keep toilet paper tubes. -But my kids have loved making puppets out of them in the past. My toddlers probably don’t even remember.

    Nothing beats a free activity:)

  3. You have such creative ideas for play. We also play in our trash quite a bit, but nothing quite this adventurous.

  4. I am so going to have to start saving our tp rolls! My 2 year old will love to play with these. I mean what kid wouldn’t choose cardboard over loud toys?
    .-= Allison´s last blog ..Aloha Friday #2 Guilty Pleasure =-.

  5. Cute activity and something we always have around.
    We recycle them, why not play with them first!

  6. I’m actually an architect, so I truly can appreciate this! What a wonderful idea!!!
    .-= Mary´s last blog ..Strawberries, anyone?? =-.

  7. My kids would love this – also looks like your son came up with a fun idea for binoculars :).

  8. i truly am amazed at all the ideas you have! your creativity is limitless! i’ve never handed out TP rolls, but the girls LOVE empty Kleenex boxes.
    .-= liz´s last blog ..D.I.Y. Before & After: Dining Room =-.

  9. I love the learning potential in playing and creating with junk. Recently I reviewed a new (to me) product that is basically a container of reusable joiners, called MakeDo. They enabled joining toilet paper rolls, plus joining them to others 3d shapes like boxes. Do keep an eye out for it in stores. Inhabitots reviewed it too, so maybe it’s available in US now.
    .-= BookChook´s last blog ..Interview with Sue Walker =-.

  10. When the boys were young: they colored the outside, put some rice and beans, sealed ends. They LOVED their little musical instruments.

    You can also check with the elementary art teacher. They always need stuff like that.
    .-= Mona´s last blog ..Kellogg Cereal Recall =-.

  11. We tend to play with trash too LOL. I love how using toilet paper rolls or even just cardboard boxes can be viewed as something with potential, rather than garbage. I use toilet paper rolls as binoculars with the kids and we go on a safari hunt (I hide little animal figurines around the house haha), and we have also used them as vases and went out hunting for flowers and other pieces of nature like leaves and sticks (dried them). We glued the toilet paper roll onto a piece of construction paper taping the end of the roll first and put our dried flowers in our vase. We then tied string to our picture and hung our art on the wall for everyone to see. So incorporating our so-called trash and nature…..turning it into a work of art they could be proud of. ~Cheryl:)

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