Make Your Own Toy Garage from Recycled Fruit Boxes
What’s better than a wooden toy garage? A totally free and completely environmentally friendly recycled fruit box garage. No child slave labour was used in the production of this toy garage. Just a little over time from mum.
Last night I took advantage of Yagga Yagga staying at his nanna’s overnight and made a toy garage out of a couple of fruit boxes that I’d tucked away in the garage just for this purpose.
They were perfect. Fitting together all snug and secure. All I needed to do was cut out a few holes and a ramp then draw a few arrows and some road lines and I would have one very happy child and a great big chunk of guilt free time to get some work done.
It might look a bit simple and bare bones but the KISS principle is a good one when it comes to toys that stimulate imaginative play. It’ll become one of our projects over the next few weeks as well. We’ll probably paint it, put stickers on it, use wooden paddle pop sticks to make a barrier over one of the entrances and maybe glue some sand or glitter on it somewhere. I’ll make sure I post an updated photo in a few weeks.
Yagga Yagga loves dramatic play and there is invariably a violent crash, mayhem and catastrophe as cars collide and building’s fly to pieces. Our free or cheap recycled play props are perfect for this as they can literally be destroyed, smashed and broken as part of imaginative play and no one becomes sad or angry. It gives him an outlet for this kind of destructive play – he knows that destroying other toys and objects like books is not acceptable and this rule must be respected so I’m not worried that this encourages aggressive or destructive behaviour. I think that it’s important to recognise that those feelings and urges to break and destroy are part of the normal spectrum of emotional expressions for a pre-schooler, or any aged child. Having a “Yes” space where he can experiment with and learn to modify and control those urges appropriately is important.
It’s also great fun for me to do as well. It gives me a functional creative outlet. He doesn’t care what it looks like so there’s no pressure on me to get it perfect like there would be if I was submitting it for judgement from another adult.
Since we’ve been home this afternoon he’s been desperate to play with his new toy garage. So after a swim and a rumble with the new kitten he’s now been playing happily for a couple of hours while I get some work done. It was well worth the 15 minutes it took me to build this recycled fruit box toy garage.
For extended play value, tonight I added on another recycled fruit box car garage and connected them with a little drawbridge. Took me all of 2 minutes to cut out the doors, use sticky tape to make a connecting drawbridge and cut in the ramp to the top story. I am blessed with a double garage that is not used for cars so I have plenty of room to store our boxes and other found objects that we use for building our car themed play probs.
And when the Car Crazy Kid tires of his recycled toy garage it can be repurposed as a multi-story play box for the cats.
What you’ll need to make your
- 2 or more sturdy boxes that fit together snugly. Matching fruit boxes, like mango boxes are ideal. Your local fruit and veg shop will be more than happy to save and give you a couple of boxes.
- A sturdy knife for cutting out the doors and the ramp. I use our Friday 13th movie inspired knife. I just push down on the handle and it cuts through easily.
- A pen and/or pencil for drawing in road lines or mark out the areas you plan to cut out as access doors
- Sticky tape
Instructions for building your recycled, eco toy garage
- Fit the boxes together.
- Mark and cut out the entrances and exits to the toy garage. I only cut out doors on 3 sides to keep the structure nice and strong and sturdy.
- Cut out the ramp on the top box and use sticky tape to secure it to the bottom. You could also attach some rope to the ramp so your child can pull the ramp up with their cars on it.
- Use a pen to mark in some road lines and car parking spaces.
- Place your garage somewhere that your child likes to play and leave some toy cars close by then let their imagination run wild.
- Now put your feet up and have a cup of tea or get some work done.
- When they get bored with playing with cars, give them a box of crayons or texta pens and let them decorate their toy garage.
If you enjoy making your own car themed toys then you might find my post about DIY Car Play Mats useful and inspiring as well. If you’re looking for ideas to inspire and excite your car obsessed child then stay tuned as I’ve got lots of ideas to share.
Car Crazy Kid
Resources, ideas and inspiration for parents and carers of kids who love cars
Education, Imagination, Stimulation