My little friend Nick is completely in love with his toy cars. I can’t remember ever seeing him without one. My Max was never a car boy, he was always more into his toy animals (and screens, always screens). So when the opportunity came up to make a cute little toy car wash for Kidspot, I had to ask Nick if I could borrow a couple of his cars for the photos… he was very kind about it (especially seeing as he was at preschool at the time so his mum did all the talking for him).
To say thank you, I made the car wash just for Nick. His little brother Tommy got to it before he did, that’s little brothers for you, right? Once Nick returned home, Nick’s mum reported that all three of her kids were completely engrossed in washing cars for (I quote) “hours”. HOURS! That’s an exciting word in any mum’s language. Apparently it started with the cars and then progressed to all the toys heading through the car wash for a dousing. Pretend, of course. I was so thrilled to hear that the kids loved something that I’d made for them. It really is the simple things, isn’t it?
Have some fun making a toy car wash of your own…
What you need
- a cardboard box (a shoe box works well, or any other small box)
- 4 toilet rolls (or 2 paper towel rolls)
- 4 small wooden dowels (available in craft shops and some $2 shops; you can use wooden chopsticks as an alternative)
- a few sheets of different coloured felt
- paper for wrapping (or your children can decorate with crayons)
- glue / sticky tape
- print out of the Car Wash and Thank you signs – click on the image below to download (optional)
What you need to do
Step 1. Prepare your box by cutting a rectangle out of each end, leaving the flap in tact to form the ‘on and off ramps’. If like me you are using a standard box rather than a shoe box you may need to add a cardboard ‘road’ inside the box to cover the box flaps (see image).
Step 2. Cover you box with wrapping paper, construction paper, plain paper, fabric or simply get the kids to decorate it with crayons or textas.
Step 3. Cut a length of felt to fit each end of your box and cut a fringe to make the car wash entrance and exit. Glue or sticky tape to the back of the doorways.
Step 4. To make the car wash ‘sponges’ take the felt and measure out strips that will go around the toilet rolls. Fringe the strips as shown.
Step 5. Attach the strips with glue or tape around the toilet roll holders. You will need two standard toilet rolls (yellow in the photo) and one longer one (blue). Making the longer roll is easy if you are using paper towel rolls, just cut it to size. If, like me, you are using toilet rolls, simply measure the width of your box and the width of one toilet roll, cut the second toilet roll holder to make up the width of the box and attach the two together with sticky tape.
Cover your three rolls with the fringed felt.
Step 6. Attach the two smaller rolls (yellow) to your box by pushing your scissors through to make a hole at either side of the car wash entrance. You can tape the dowel underneath the box if you need to for stability (mine stayed up just fine on their own and by not taping them they are still able to be ‘turned’ to ‘wash’ the cars – see how you go).
Cut out two cute flag shapes to add to the top of your dowel to make your car wash entrance nice and festive (just what you need at your local car wash!).
Step 7. To attach the larger roll (blue), cut small notches to fit a craft dowel on either side of the box, a small way up from the yellow rolls. Thread the roll onto the dowel and push each side into the notches. During play, the dowel can be turned by your child to ‘operate’ the roller sponge.
Step 8. Add a third dowel with a fringed mat attached behind the blue roller sponge. Make sure the fringe touches the floor so the cars can drive through it.
Step 9. Glue your car wash signs at the front and back of the car wash.
Step 10. Open up for business!
Are your kids ‘car kids’ or do their hearts lie elsewhere?