How to Make a Fire Engine for Kids

Written by charong chow
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How to Make a Fire Engine for Kids
Make your own fire engine with an old shoebox. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Children need play and toys for their emotional and cognitive development. Red fire engines and boxes are the iconic toys of childhood and this craft combines the two with the addition of a few household items. Work with your child to create an extra bond and help then realise their imagination by making a toy from an adult sized shoebox. A child's shoebox will be too small for this craft.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Adult shoebox
  • 4 small paper plates
  • Red tempura paint
  • White tempura paint
  • Black tempura paint
  • Scissors
  • Pencil

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  1. 1

    Cut the lid of an old adult shoebox 2 inches from each side lengthwise. You will making the long fire engine ladder with the lid.

    How to Make a Fire Engine for Kids
    Use the shoebox lid to make a long ladder. (firetruck ladder image by Tammy Mobley from
  2. 2

    Draw a ladder with a pencil onto the cut lid. Give about 1 1/2 inches between each step. Paint the ladder with white paint and allow to dry.

  3. 3

    Paint four paper plates black. which will become the wheels. If they are large, you will need to cut them first to fit the shoebox.

  4. 4

    Turn the shoebox upside down so that the open part is facing down. Draw windows, doors, headlamps, side ladder, and bumper. Cut a 3 inch opening on the top of the turned over box for the ladder.

  5. 5

    Paint windows, headlamps, side ladder, and bumper white. Paint the rest of the box red, and use black paint to detail the door. Allow everything to dry.

  6. 6

    Glue on the tires, and slide the ladder into the top of the box. Your child will know what to do next.

    How to Make a Fire Engine for Kids
    A handmade fire engine will become a special toy for your child. (red toy fire engine image by Tomasz Plawski from

Tips and warnings

  • Tempura paint is washable and non-toxic and great to use with children. If your child is older, you may use acrylic paint, which is shinier and more durable. However, acrylic paint can permanently stain clothing and furniture.
  • Use newspaper or cloth to protect your table before starting any craft. Use caution when handling scissors, and never give sharp objects to young children.

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