By peoplestaff225
Updated May 19, 2009 02:30 PM
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Everyone knows that a kid’s favorite toy is a big, cardboard box. Our trip to Toy Fair showed that several companies are taking the concept farther and designing elaborate, chic and cool cardboard toys. They ship flat (in more cardboard!), they’re made from recycled materials and the prices range from $7-77. We know that any parent with a refrigerator box and a pair of scissors can become a hero in four minutes flat, but when we see a trend we have to tell you about it!

We’ve found each of these to be surprisingly durable. My two energetic boys have been playing with them for months and they’re all still going strong. Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be telling you about some of our favorite items we saw: today, a Rocket and Airplane, and later, a Country Cottage, Palace, Chair and Dinosaur.

Toys are only a small portion of Cardboardesignsofferings. They make everything from adult-sized cardboard tables and chairs to a large selection toys including their great Rocket and Airplane models. The Rocket ($77) is taller than I am and my 3 ½-year-old son Finn loves it.

It took a few minutes and considerable floor space to assemble, and it’s crucial that you read the directions and take your time. I ripped the door a little bit when I assembled ours, but its strong design has held up to several months (and several playdates) of rough-and-tumble action.

The new Airplane ($49) has handles on the sides so Finn can step in and fly around the house in it. It’s darling, but it probably would be a better outside toy for a sunny day. Both toys are 100% recycled and unprinted and can be painted, stickered, collaged or markered ’til your heart’s content.

These are the most expensive cardboard toys we found and we know they’re a splurge, but one brilliant friend suggested using it for a child’s birthday party and letting the guests decorate it. Then the guest of honor has a fun reminder of his special day. It’s an activity and a gift all in one!

Kristen