I don’t know if you have ever noticed the shopfronts that are built into children’s climbing equipment at public playgrounds? They are usually underneath the high platform that the slide comes off. Anyway, when we visit our local playground, Immy enjoys playing ice cream shop (there is a story behind why based on her current favourite book but I will share that one another time!) We discuss what flavours are available, she takes my money (cents) and we enjoy a nice, cold (albeit imaginary) ice cream.
This wonderfully social, imaginary play led me to the recent construction of our next DIY Kids Project… I present to you, the Ice Cream Shop.
1. Choose a box which is tall enough for your child to stand up in. A fridge box would be perfect but at Immy’s height I can still get away with a tea chest sized packing box.
2. As I need the full height of the box (ours will be an open air roofed ice cream shop), I attached some cardboard offcuts to reinforce the box flaps. These were glued and taped into place.
3. Mark out the opening for your storefront with marker pen. Take into consideration the height of your little person when positioning the window.
4. Cut out with utility knife.
5. Cut out an entrance door from an adjacent side of the box.
6. Time for the decorating to begin – you know I love self adhesive book covering for its colour and reinforcement properties! This time, a nice bright blue.7. And for some extra bling, I cut strings of sausages (at least, that is what they remind me of!) from contrasting, red book covering. I simply traced around a lunchbox lid to make this pattern and cut it out with scissors.
8. These were stuck down either side of the storefront, folding them over the edge of the box sides.
9. Now our ice cream shop needs some dressing up!
First, a blackboard sign for displaying the range of delicious flavours.
The letters, cones and ice cream scoops are all cut from thin craft foam and attached with glue and double sided tape onto a piece of black card. I sketched these by hand but you could easily make letter templates by printing out the letters in a Word document. The poster is attached inside the box with double sided tape and glue.
10. Every store needs a counter top. I measured the width of the storefont window opening and cut a piece of thick box cardboard to fit. Then I glued eight strips of box cardboard, four in each of two rows, with space between. The space is the thickness of the box cardboard and allows me to wedge the counter top into position.
A piece of contrasting book covering and, voila, a counter top!11. More dressing up, this time an awning for our shopfront. Cut a piece of thick box cardboard to fit the width of your box. Score the card with a utility knife to divide it into one third/two thirds. Cover in book covering.
Trace around a lid or similar object to make the scalloped edge. Cut out with scissors or utility knife. I then used strips of electrical tape to make stripes in contrasting colours.Fold along the scored line and then attach the awning by gluing and taping into position on the inside of your box (I lay the whole box down and weighted it whilst the glue dried). Depending on the position of your window, you may need to trim part of the inside edge if it hangs down past the window top, as I did.
12. Storage! Inside the box, I used double sided tape and glue to attach three boxes to serve as shelves. I simply used pieces of book covering and a permanent marker to make labels for each box.
And now, to unveil the completed project…
Time to test the play potential of our DIY Kids Ice Cream Shop…
Of course, your shop does not have to be an ice cream shop, any of these ideas can be simply adapted to suit whatever it is that your child loves. The satisfaction is in making something with your own two hands for your child to enjoy, there is still time before Christmas to get busy!
And for those who are interested, the costs involved were;
- $0.00 Large box
- $0.00 Offcuts of scrap box cardboard for inner support, counter, awning
- $5.90 Book covering – 2 rolls of blue contact
- $1.50 Contrasting book covering, red and cream
- $0.25 White craft foam for letters, vanilla ice cream
- $0.25 Brown craft foam for ice cream cones
- $0.00 Offcuts of pink and dark brown craft foam
- $0.75 Electrical tape ($2 for pack of 8)
- $0.00 Boxes for storage (from our recycling collection)
- $0.50 Double sided tape
- $1.00 Packaging tape and PVA glue (used from our craft stash)
Pretty close to my usual goal of under $10!
P.S. I made the felt ice creams too and will post a tutorial and pattern to download this coming Saturday!