I find that wet days can drive me and the kids crazy with cabin fever. So we like to change up the play area every now and then with different themes. Sometimes it's a train table or Legoland, and sometimes it's a secret cubby reading corner. But recently we opened our own little Cardboard Cafe for the kids to play shop in.
With a coffee table and a couple of stools to make the bench. I put some old MDF on the front and built in a little train track around and through the bench. I had to cut out some tunnels (for which I used a Stanley knife) and used the left over MDF to prop up the high track which was really easy.
The cardboard then came out to make a cash register and cake display. I was inspired to make the cash register from the old registers that look so beautifully crafted and elegant. However I really ran out of patiences and ended up using Kaisercraft Wooden Embellishments instead of my own cardboard designs. The buttons were made from plywood dowels and cardboard tops. There is also a coin slot and shoot (except we were using large buttons as change) into the till. The whole structure was basically two card board boxes.
The cake display was fun, it was just one box styled into the display.
- Gingerbread Men where 2 layers of cardboard with hole punched cardboard for decorative icing.
- Chocolate Chip Cookies where sculpted pieces of foam with hole punched cardboard chocolate chips scattered onto it.
- Cardboard Oreo Biscuits where two circles of cardboard sandwiching the rim of a coffee cup.
- Scrolls where rolled up and scrunched brown paper drizzled with PVA glue.
- Cupcakes where the bottom half of a coffee cup, sculpted foam for the icing and cake with a button sewn on top.
All cakes and biscuits were coated with PVA/water (50:50) to protect and secure the treats."Cardboard Chinos"
I got some coffee cups, tops and chino cups all from the 2 Dollar Shop (I love those places), and both Diddy and I saved a heap of coffee trays from our own visits to our local cafe. Oh and of course the Cardboard Cafe wouldn't be a real one without chalkboard menus, a table and chairs.
The Cardboard Cafe has been a great success and has been partially popular when friends come over to play, I think it was quite novel to play shop. The train addition was actually Busters idea cos he missed his train set table, so it got incorporated into the cafe.
Tips and Reflections
- I was way too ambitious with the Cash Register and am very disappointed with it. If I had heaps of time and planned it better I think I could of made a beautiful and elegant register. But ONE: it's for kids and they are going to wreck it and TWO: I don't have enough time THREE: The simplest things always are the best. So next time Im going to plan it first and make it much more simpler.
- Beware! A Cafe has only a short amount of shelf life so don't be disheartened if you ask for a coffee one day and they say "you make it".
- Yes all the treats have bite marks on them, so make sure everything is secured down and the little ones don't actually eat them.
Thank you for visiting!