How to Make a Fire Engine for Kids

Hemera Technologies/ Images

Things You'll Need

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

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 realize their imagination by making a toy from an adult sized shoe box. A child's shoe box will be too small for this craft.

Use the shoe box lid to make a long ladder.
firetruck ladder image by Tammy Mobley from

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

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.

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

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

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

A handmade fire engine will become a special toy for your child.
red toy fire engine image by Tomasz Plawski from

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


  • 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.



About the Author

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.

Photo Credits

  • Hemera Technologies/ Images