DIY: Pizza box textured puzzles

Every so often, I spend a weekend making new games and activities for my class to explore. The problem is, once I start making some of these games, I end up with partially completed “works-in-progress” all over my house. I start on the dining room table, then when I run out of space there, I head to the kitchen table or the floor or where ever there is another space…

This game making session included painting some pizza boxes that were donated to me by our local Noblesville Pizza King. I used acrylic paint to paint the boxes bright colors and used some of the boxes to make pizza box puzzles…

After painting the boxes, I hot glued blank craft puzzle frames to the boxes. These boxes were the perfect size for the craft puzzle frames that I hot glued both on top and inside the boxes…

I used the inside of the pizza boxes to store the textured puzzle pieces I made. To make the textured puzzles, I hot glued scraps of different materials or objects to the puzzle pieces….

Craft puzzles are available at most craft stores but the type of puzzle will vary in size and number of pieces. I purchased my craft puzzles from our local United Arts and Education but you can also find craft puzzles at Amazon: Inovart Puzzle-It Blank Puzzles 12 Piece 5-1/2″ x 8-1/2″ – 24 Pieces Per Package

I wanted the puzzles to have different textures for the children to feel and explore as they put the puzzles together. I used sand paper, fabric, cotton balls, pompoms, bubble wrap, lids, Styrofoam, felt, sponges, and straws for this set of puzzle pieces…

This is the kind of game that I will add to our puzzle center for the children to explore in different ways for awhile. I introduced the puzzles to the children today by just setting them out on the table to check out on their own…

I started out with eight puzzle pieces in each box but this confused the children so we narrowed down to four pieces in each box  – I will add the other pieces later when the children are ready for a more complex process…

We will also use the puzzle pieces at other times, like circle time, to discuss texture and for counting games…

The more open ended the homemade game is, the more uses you can find for it in the classroom…

By the way, these puzzle pieces are all the same shape so they fit together in any box.

By |2012-02-19T06:00:39+00:00February 19th, 2012|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. jessica r February 19, 2012 at 10:14 am - Reply

    great idea and yes i know i have preschool stuff all over my house on week end as i am working on next week stuff ..

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. February 19, 2012 at 12:07 pm - Reply

      Haha! Me too!

  2. Sharon Dudley February 19, 2012 at 10:30 am - Reply

    This idea is so fabulous! I’m going to have one of my sighted friends help me make this. My children really need more exposure to adjectives because English is not their first language. Thank you so much for sharing this idea! Have you ever read the book “Lucy’s Picture”? It would go great with your tactile puzzle idea.

    Sharon Dudley, NBCT

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. February 19, 2012 at 12:07 pm - Reply

      I am not familiar with that book! I will have to look it up!

      • Sharon Dudley February 19, 2012 at 4:09 pm

        It’s about a little girl who makes a tactile collage picture for her grandfather, who’s blind. It’s a really sweet story, and it helps my pre-k children to understand about my blindness. If you have time, I would love it if you could come and visit my blog.

        Sharon Dudley, NBCT

      • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. February 19, 2012 at 7:28 pm

        I will be sure to stop by your blog Sharon – It seems you have much to teach me as well:)

  3. stephanie a. February 19, 2012 at 12:54 pm - Reply

    deborah, what have you done??? now i’m going to have a pizza box collection on top of all of the other “garbage” collections that obsessively save!!! what can i say, we preschool teachers sure know how to see the potential in everything/everyone, eh???

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. February 19, 2012 at 7:29 pm - Reply

      Hahaha – sorry about that Stephanie!

  4. Kristine Binderup February 19, 2012 at 1:26 pm - Reply

    Wow I love this idea!! I am so glad I found your blog!!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. February 19, 2012 at 7:29 pm - Reply

      I am glad you did too:) Thank you Kristine!

  5. Barbara Allisen February 19, 2012 at 3:02 pm - Reply

    Deborah, sounds like the projects all over my house. One night the kids asked “Mom, where are we going to eat?” Not as in “can we go out to…?” but the kitchen table was covered, the tv trays, even their little table and chairs. Did I blink? Nope, big smile and cheery answer “I have an idea. Put on your snowsuits, I’ll shovel off the patio table and we’ll eat on the deck!”

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. February 19, 2012 at 7:28 pm - Reply

      Hahaha! Sounds soooo familiar!

  6. fiona thomas February 19, 2012 at 5:34 pm - Reply

    sharon dudley, i have read that book and loved it, was such a child friendly way to explain blindness. definatly recomend it.

    I wish i lived in usa, your shops seem to have great wee things that can be addapted for learning. Will have to do a wee search for retailers in scotland.

  7. Kristina February 19, 2012 at 6:04 pm - Reply

    Great minds think alike ; ) I just blogged about a texture activity, too! Check out my post at, if you have time!

    Love looking at your ideas for my 4 year old!

  8. Holly February 19, 2012 at 9:03 pm - Reply

    This is a fantastic idea and easy to make for even the most amateur crafter (e.g. me). Thanks for sharing!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. February 19, 2012 at 9:19 pm - Reply

      You are welcome Holly:)

  9. Judy Santos February 22, 2012 at 1:45 pm - Reply

    I love these ideas! I have many pizza boxes that we have made into flannel boards. I glued felt to the lid and put the story pieces and the book inside. They stack nicely in the book corner. I can see a stack of them in other areas of my classroom now too. Thanks for your blog. I get so many wonderful ideas from you.

  10. dyn March 26, 2012 at 9:35 am - Reply


    I cannot find the blank 4 piece puzzles anywhere – does anyone have a source?

  11. dyn March 26, 2012 at 11:23 am - Reply

    Thanks for the source. Unfortunately I live on the east coast and when I called the company the smallest size they make are now the 9 piece.

    Thanks anyway – Great project by the way!

  12. Karen Anderson August 1, 2012 at 3:03 pm - Reply

    I’m confused (which is easily done!) about the puzzle frame glued to the top of the box. Is it just for decoration? If so, what do you do with the puzzle pieces from that frame?


    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. August 1, 2012 at 5:52 pm - Reply

      Hi Karen – I glued the frame to the top of the box so the children could use the frame to fit the pieces of the puzzle in if they wanted to. But most of them just preferred to put the pieces together on the table:)

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. August 1, 2012 at 5:53 pm - Reply

      Oh and the pieces are stored inside the pizza box.

      • Karen Anderson August 1, 2012 at 6:03 pm

        Your puzzles have frames on the lid and inside the box, right?

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