The research is called Ribena plus play report: The role of toys in play.
A total of 46% of parents claimed their child enjoys playing with cardboard boxes instead of costly toys and games.
The survey found twice as many kids preferred playing with the cardboard wrapping than those who liked pricey electronic gadgets such as tablet computers and games consoles.
Just one in ten parents said their kids opted for shop-bought toys while 12 per cent chose watching DVDs as their favourite play activity.
However, parents reported feeling forced into spending extra cash on presents by annual Christmas must-have toy lists. Almost half plan to lavish £200 or more on each child, while one in ten expects to shell out over £500. One in 100 even plans to blow more than £2,000 on gifts.
The survey of 2,000 parents of kids aged 3- 18 was conducted by OnePoll on behalf of the makers of Ribena Plus, in September.