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How to Make a Fire Engine for Kids

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.

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  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.

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

  7. Tip

    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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Things You'll Need

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

About the Author

Charong Chow

Charong Chow has been writing professionally since 1995. Her work has appeared in magazines such as "Zing" and "Ocean Drive." Chow graduated from the University of Miami with a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy. She also received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the California Institute of the Arts.

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