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DIY cardboard car wash

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Playing with cars and water – this may be the ultimate idea of fun for a summer day, in case you’re a little boy.

Curious George is one of my kids’ favorite characters and they have recently watched George go to a car wash with the Man with the Yellow Hat. I thought they would enjoy trying it themselves so I suggested it to my husband.

That evening my three boys jumped into the car for some car wash fun, at least this is how I pictured it in my mind. “We won’t be doing it again too soon” were my hubby’s first words upon their arrival. “They got scared of the noise, started crying and I had to hold their hands”.

The kids didn’t seem scared to me, they were so excited, got out of the car and ran to all our neighbors outside to tell them about their little adventure.  

They wanted to go back, insisted that my car needed some cleaning as well but suggested another car wash, a silent one.

Make a cardboard car wash from a box. DIY cardboard toy for kids. Learn how to make it waterproof so kids can actually play with water. Fun summer activity. | at Non Toy Gifts

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I created them a car wash out of a cardboard box . It has brushes and the boys can actually play with water as it is waterproofed.

A DIY cardboard car wash is mainly an adult project as it involves handling a craft knife and a hot glue gun but kids can also help with painting or cutting the felt.

How to make your own DIY cardboard car wash

Make a cardboard car wash from a box. DIY cardboard toy for kids. Learn how to make it waterproof so kids can actually play with water. Fun summer activity. | at Non Toy Gifts

If you plan on making one, here are the materials you’ll need

  • cardboard box, 
  • craft knife, 
  • bubble wrap
  • paint. (If you want to keep the painting to a minimum, here is the paint we used. If you go for acrylic paint it will take forever.), 
  • felt, 
  • wooden rods, 
  • paper towel tubes, 
  • foam for the words “Car wash” at the entrance and “Thank You” at the exit, 
  • hot glue gun

Step 1. Cut off the top of the cardboard box as well as the entrance door and the exit. By leaving the car wash without a ceiling you make it easier for kids to move the cars inside and see how the brushes wash their cars.

I used a pretty big cardboard box but a shoe box will also work. The size of the cars is the one criteria to dictate the size of the box but I’m sure your little boy has both big and small cars.

Make a cardboard car wash from a box. DIY cardboard toy for kids. Learn how to make it waterproof so kids can actually play with water. Fun summer activity. Kids can help with painting and decorations| at Non Toy Gifts

Step 2. Paint the outside of the box and don’t forget the bottom. The paint will protect the cardboard from getting wet. Protect the inside by gluing bubble wrap on the two main walls and the floor.

Step 3. Create the horizontal brushes: Cut the wooden rods to the desired length. Use a craft knife to cut hole into the cardboard at both sides and insert the rods. Cut the felt for the brushes and glue on the rods using a hot glue gun.

Step 4. Cut the felt for the exit streamers and glue it on the inside. I made the exit opening pretty large and secured it with a rod (it goes underneath the felt). Otherwise it would have easily collapsed.

Step 5. Create the vertical brushes: Cut felt and glue it to paper towel tubes. Glue the tubes to the cardboard just before the exit opening.

Step 6. Write the words “Car Wash” and “Thank You” on foam. Cut the letters out using the craft knife and glue them at the entrance and exit.

Make a cardboard car wash from a box. DIY cardboard toy for kids. Learn how to make it waterproof so kids can actually play with water. Fun summer activity. | at Non Toy Gifts

Our car wash has been exposed to plenty of water and is still doing fine.

More summer fun activities for kids:

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Steve Massimini

Tuesday 9th of May 2017

Great for kid summer fun activity. http://www.classicautobody.com/

Stef

Wednesday 10th of May 2017

It is, indeed :)

Emma (Kids Craft Room)

Friday 8th of July 2016

Thanks for linking up to #CreateMakeShare. This is such a lovely idea, I'm delighted to feature you.

Amanda

Sunday 16th of August 2015

This is simply the cutest DIY I've ever seen. My son LOVES the car wash {not sure why} but he would love this... I will be doing it with him soon. Thanks so much for linking up at #LFEO, hope to see you back next week !

Let kids be kids

Saturday 1st of August 2015

That's a fantastic idea, I love your cardboard carwash, such creative play. My kids used to scream at the car wash too, now they love it. Thanks for linking #LetKidsbeKids

Stef

Friday 7th of August 2015

I know my kids would also love going to a real car was some day, but until then we're covered

Jenny Eaves

Saturday 1st of August 2015

This is great! I love how they helped to make it too, they'll have such fun with their new car wash. :) x

Stef

Friday 7th of August 2015

The preschooler loves to paint, just like his mom :)

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