Did you know our Toys That Teach can be used for tons of different educational and DIY projects?! We're introducing this new series with Emily Limer to show you the myriad of ways you can use our figurines!
Farm Toob Series: DIY Cardboard Barn
Looking for a fun weekend project for you and the kids? This DIY cardboard barn might just be it! Made from a recycled cardboard box, this barn is perfect for playing with all of your favorite Safari Ltd. farm animals. You can use any size box you like to customize your barn to your toy collection! The kids can help with painting and decorating their barn, too. DIY toys are always a huge hit with my kids, and making homes for our Safari Ltd. creatures is at the top of their list. Read below for step-by-step instructions on how to build your own barn!
- 1 cardboard box
-Clear packaging tape
-Scissors or a box cutter
-Hot glue gun
-Red and white acrylic paint
-White pipe cleaners
Step 1: Open the top of your cardboard box. Tape the flaps on the bottom of the box closed to keep them from opening. Using scissors or a box cutter, cut the two shorter side flaps off of your box. Save these!
Step 2: Cut a door and windows. To cut the door, draw a rectangle on the front of your barn (one of the longer sides). Cut a vertical slit down the middle of the rectangle. Then, cut across the top and bottom of the rectangle. Leave the two vertical sides of the rectangle intact (these will be the “hinges”). Fold the cut pieces out to create a door!
You can choose to cut as many windows in any size(s) you want. I cut a large rectangular opening on the back of the barn (opposite the door), two large windows on each side, and a small window in the roof. For my kids, I knew that having more openings would make the barn easier and more fun to play with!
Step 3: Prep the roof. Plug in your hot glue gun and let it warm. Fold the two top flaps of the box closed. Lay one of the shorter side pieces on top in the center of the box. This shorter flap should go across the gap between the two closed flaps. Mark each side of the shorter flap with a pencil on the top of the box (see below).
Next, use a ruler (or the straight edge of a spare piece of cardboard) to draw a line from the marks you just made to each corner of the box lid. This will create a slanted roof for your barn. Cut along each of the slanted lines you just made.
Step 4: Glue the roof together. Fold the two top flaps back up. Using hot glue, glue one of the long sides of the spare cardboard flap (that you used to measure!) to the top of the flap attached to the barn. This flap will become the top of the roof. Glue the cardboard to the other side flap. Your roof is now fully constructed! If you’re concerned the glue isn’t strong enough, run a piece of packing tape along the seam INSIDE the barn.
Step 5: Paint and decorate your barn! I gave the entire outside of the barn a thin coat of red acrylic paint. Then, I used a thin paintbrush and white acrylic paint to outline the door, windows and all of the edges of the barn. Finally, I used hot glue to glue pipe cleaners in an X shape on the front of each door and in the roof window! You can also add door knobs with beads, buttons or a piece of stick if you like! Once dry your barn is ready for play!
Bonus DIY Ideas:
Vegetable garden: We made a small veggie garden to go with our barn! I painted a spare piece of cardboard with brown acrylic paint and then hot glued sticks from our yard around the edges. This worked so well with our vegetables from the Fruits and Vegetables Toob. It also became a pig pen a few times during our play!
Painted Chickpeas: We paired our barn and animals with some sensory play using painted chickpeas - my favorite sensory play base! To paint dried chickpeas, place them into a gallon-sized zipper bag and squirt in around 2 tbsp of acrylic paint. Zip the bag closed and use your hands to gently massage the paint around until all of the beans are covered. Spread them out to dry in a tray lined with parchment paper. They usually dry in a couple of hours. These made a great field for our animals to play in!
Looking for more activities that you can do at home with your toddler? Check out some of these other ideas here below!
- Build a Solar System Game at Home
- Build a Volcano at Home
- Build a Game of Thrones Dragon Castle
- Build Your Own Clay Bird Nests
- Build a Toddler Play Train Kit