Throughout history, children have mimicked the everyday activities of adults through their toys and pretend play. Travelling salesmen would offer a "salesman's sample" miniature to the mother as a good faith demonstration that the stove or appliance would be delivered. These samples were given to children. According to Stoves Online, "The history of cast iron toy stoves closely follows the history of real stoves. In the 1840s, stoves became popular in American kitchen(s)--toy stoves followed suit." Today, roaming salesmen no longer give away luxurious models of adult appliances, but a child's kitchen set can be made from cardboard.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- 2 boxes - wider than tall, height at child's waist
- 1 narrow box - taller than wide, height at child's neck
- 2 plastic rectangular basins with a lip
- 7 drawer knobs, black or painted black
- Black paint
- Red paint OR red permanent marker
- Black jumbo permanent marker
- Box cutter
Locate boxes, checking recycling stations, home improvement stores, discount stores, or retail outlets. Two of the boxes should be wider than tall, and one box should be tall and narrow.
Tape all of the boxes closed on all sides.
Paint seven drawer knobs black. Allow to dry.
Use one of the wide boxes for the kitchen sink area.
Measure the length and width of the plastic bin.
Determine which side is "the top"; it is usually one of the taped ends. One of the untaped sides will be used to cut the sink cabinet door. Then cut a rectangle in the very centre of the top of the box, matching the dimensions of the plastic bin.
Insert the basin into the rectangular opening. Screw two black drawer knobs beside or behind the plastic basin to represent sink faucets.
Cut a three-sided vertical opening into the front of the box (one of the untaped sides) to create a sink cabinet door. Be sure to leave at least 3 inches of cardboard around the opening for a sturdy structure. Bend the door out.
Screw a black knob near the centre edge of the sink cabinet door.
Making a Sink
Use another of the wider boxes to be the stove/oven.
Cut a horizontal three-sided opening on the centre front of the box for an oven door. The door will open downward. Bend forward to form a crease for easier opening.
Screw a black drawer knob into the top edge of the oven door near the centre.
Draw or paint two to four red circles onto the top of the stove for "burners." Use a margarine tub lid or similar object as an easy guide.
Screw two black drawer knobs onto the top of the box for burner controls near the side of the burners.
Making a Stove/Oven
The box used for the refrigerator should be taller than it is wide.
Cut a vertical, three-sided rectangle on the front of the box, leaving 3 to 4 inches of cardboard around the opening. This is the refrigerator door.
Screw a black drawer knob near the centre edge of the refrigerator door.
Use the other plastic basin as a vegetable drawer and place it inside the refrigerator.
Making a Refrigerator
Tips and warnings
- You can use two to four knobs on the stove if desired.
- All boxes can be painted white or any other colour with tempera paint before beginning construction.
- Outline all doors and burners with black marker for realistic effect.
- Exercise caution when using box cutters.
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