In search a fun and simple sports project kids can try to stretch their creativity and foster small motor skills? Try making this DIY cardboard football helmet from everyday materials you probably already have on hand. No major preparation needed!
Crisper air has arrived. Pumpkin spice is everywhere again, and leaves are falling from the trees. All that means fall and football are officially here.
The night before the NFL season started, we laid out jerseys to wear to school and work.
As of late, the boys have been playing plenty of football, which comes as no surprise. They generally obsess over whichever sport is in season, which works out well and keep their little bodies and brains learning all sorts of new tricks.
In true football fashion, the boys decided they couldn’t play flag football at home without helmets. Safety first friends; we’ve taught them well.
Let’s just ignore the minor detail that the special helmets they created were constructed out of cardboard and maybe, just maybe, wouldn’t meet practical safety standards. The boys happily pretended these helmets were the real deal.
Easy DIY Cardboard Football Helmet for Kids
We got to work on this easy DIY football helmet project with a few really simple materials we had in hand.
- Cardboard box
- Construction paper (or cardstock)
- Scotch tape
- Duct tape
- Markers (optional, for decorating)
With just a few materials that we found around the house, the boys created their own makeshift football helmets to accompany the dish towels flags tucked into the sides of their shorts.
1. We started with a cardboard box a bit bigger than a shoe box. The box needed to be large enough for the end to fit over the child’s head.
2. We measured their heads from top to chin and cut the end of the box off to match that length (i.e. we cut off the end of the box with enough length to cover their heads).
3. For both boys, the boxes were too wide for their heads, so we cut a slit down the middle of the box (lengthwise) to push the sides together so they overlapped. We used duct tape to re-tape the new the seam that went down the middle of the helmet (from the middle of their forehead to the nape if their neck).
4. While the boys covered their helmets in green construction paper to match their favorite football team, we folded a piece of duct tape in thirds (so there were no sticky sides) to make a chin strap. Duct tape works really for chin straps because it has just enough stretch to be flexible yet strong.
5. From cardstock, we cut out a face mask and taped it to the helmet using duct tape (though scotch tape or masking tape works fine too).
6. With the helmets on their head, we measured the chinstrap to ensure it was tight enough to keep the helmet on their heads while loose enough to slip over their heads.
The boys chose to decorate their helmets to match their favorite teams. Certainly this is optional, but we’re always up for encouraging a little extra creative exploration and fine-tuning of small motor skills.
We completed this easy DIY cardboard football helmet project in about 30 minutes, and the boys played flag football for several hours with their “fancy” helmets. They couldn’t have been more pleased with their work.
Beyond the small motor skills exercised in a project like this one, each child makes something they want with materials readily available to them. This helps encourage children to develop problem-solving skills and flex their creativity muscles.
In this case, the boys wanted new football helmets. With a little cardboard, cardstock, scissors, glue and duct tape, they made their own wishes come true without spending a dime.
If you try this on your own, be sure to tag us on social media @kidssportslab and use hashtag #SmartsForSportyPants. We love to check out and feature your creations!