Jan 15, 2009

Home made toy carwash

It was another day with four kids aged four and under and I had nothing planned. The two older kids started off drawing pictures of cars and trucks and then asked me to draw a carwash for them. It seems carwashes either terrify small children or excite them to the point of near barfing. These kids are in the latter group. To them a carwash is like the preschooler equivalent of Great America's bestest rollercoaster and you don't have to be over 40 inches tall to ride.

Anyway, after talking excitedly about car washes for a while they decided that it would be best if we actually made one, so I grabbed a load of stuff out of the recycling bin and pulled out a pack of those foam sheets that my friend had got for us, that were on sale because they were christmas colours.
The older kids did most of the work/help by cutting out all the foam and cutting fringes onto it to make the rollers. They also coloured in all the signage and the wheel guides for the floor of the carwash.
I hastily cut holes in a diaper box and glue gunned all the bits on. The top roller is a wooden spoon wrapped in tin foil and shoved into a paper towel tube. The cut up foam sheets were glued on top. Then there were a couple of dangly washing strip thingies made out of more foam sheets and some old packing material. There wasn't enough room to make side rollers that actually turned like the top one, so I just glued on half a cardboard tube with more of the foam frondy things the kids cut out. The kids specifically asked for a sign that said "thank you" as you were leaving, and windows so you could see the car going through (a local car wash has windows like this - seriously cheap fun, as cheap as visiting the "pauper's zoo" in fact (Petco))

Luckliy the barbie cars we have both fitted through it. Later in the day they took to sending barbie through sat in her convertable, poor lass. They even sent Polly pocket through on a scooter. We fixed up a toll booth and they played quite happily with the monstrosity for quite some time, although now they want to make an entire village out of diaper boxes. Apparently they feel that the next building we need is a Post Office. Who knew that Post Offices were next on the "exciting" list after car washes?!?


  1. WOW! Too awesome! So do you baby sit kids a lot, or is it your job? You seem to have billion kids round you! And if a Barbie came into a post office after going through the car wash in her convertible I am sure Ken would find it exciting ;0)

  2. I just have a lot of kids come over to play at our place :D

    Poor Ken can't work at the post office. He's on dissability, due to being headless and naked in the back yard.

  3. Thank You for posting the Car Wash project. My three year-old son has recently asked my husband to make one for him. I am also happy to know that we have 99% of the supplies at home.

    By the way, do you plan to homeschool your children?

  4. Thanks so much for the inspiration. Your design is amazing. My four year old is so thrilled! --Marla Finley

  5. Thank you so much for sharing your creative streak & the results on the internet! My daughter's homework this week was make a cardboard box into something that doesn't look like a box & has at least 1 moving part. This design was brilliant!! What materials I didn't have were easily substituted & we had it finished in about 2.5 hrs. It's going to my bff's after marking for her 22 mth old to play with .... LOL!!

  6. Hi there,
    I saw the picture of your so cool car wash on pinterest, thanks for posting what a great idea !! I have 3 little boys.. do I need to say any more? haha, God bless,

  7. You ispired us this http://suegiuperlapianura.blogspot.it/2012/06/lavaggio-auto-di-domenica-ovviamente.html
    Thanks a lot from Italy

  8. I've been wanting to make a cardboard car wash for my almost 3 year old for some time now and I loved yours. I found it on Pinterest and immediately started working on mine. If you have a chance check out my version at http://madeinhousefromoppositesidesofthepond.blogspot.be/2012/09/childrens-cool-cardboard-car-wash.html

  9. Oh my goodness!!! This is so awesome. My 4 year old son can watch millions of people driving through car washes on YouTube and never get tired. He had a lame store bought car wash that got wrecked and since then he's tried to make his own car wash in a million different ways. My last input was a bunch of pipe cleaners and some shaving cream (so pathetic). I'll make this for him tomorrow and he will think he's died and gone to awesome-mommy-heaven. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Hi,

    I'm doing a round-up of DIY projects to do with a diaper box on Disney Baby and wondered if I could include yours. I'd use on photo with credit and link back to your full post. Is that okay?


  11. This is an amazing DIY project for kids.


Thank you for your comments.