Make A Market From A Cardboard Box

Every month we receive one of those mammoth boxes on our doorstep from Amazon Prime. (Which, by the way, is the greatest thing in the world — no, this is not a promotional plug, it just rules my world.) After all the contents are emptied, my inner recyclist (it is a word, according to Urban Dictionary) always cringes a bit at not putting it to some sort of use. So, I took a solid three days just staring at it, willing it with my mind powers to turn into something awesome. Before I knew it, the side flaps began to look like signs, and the top flap sat like an awning. Lightbulb! This box was waiting to be turned into a cardboard market for kids!
This simply requires a few cheap materials, which I happened to have on hand. To make your own fabulous market you'll need:
-a large rectangular cardboard box
-a smaller square box for a stand
-craft paints in colors of your choice
-black chalkboard paint
-red scrapbook paper
-construction paper
-pens and chalk for making signs
-play foods
1. Paint the entire box (except the side flaps) white, or whatever color you would like your market to be. Paint the side flaps with chalkboard paint. Let it dry for 30 minutes.
2. Paint your smaller box whatever color you want. I opted for a bright blue to go with the red stripes on the awning. Make sure you use a primer paint if you don't want the branding on the box to show through like mine did (oops). Let it dry for 30 minutes.
3. While waiting for the paint to dry, cut six strips of red scrapbook paper, which should be about 3 inches wide and the whole height of the paper. Round the edges on the bottom for the scalloped awning look. Once paint is dry, glue them on to the top flap, making sure they are evenly spaced.
4.  Using your construction paper, draw a sign with your shnazzy market name. Remember that marketing and branding is essential to your business, people! ;) Put it up on one of the flaps (I used washi tape to give it some charm and color). On the opposite flap, write out your market items and prices using white chalk.
5. Fill your market with fun foods and all the goods!
Luke makes for a hard-headed business man. If he doesn't like your bartering suggestions, he just throws you and your food out. Guess we've watched "The Soup Nazi" from Seinfeld one too many times ;)
This project was simple and enjoyable to make with Luke because he can paint and there was really nothing to fuss over. After all, it's just a cardboard box! We love any opportunity to turn off the TV and iPad and use our creativity to play and discover. The market is fantastic for teaching kids about healthy foods, and "selling" the food is also a great way to practice math with your older ones.
I hope you get a chance to put your old cardboard boxes to good use and make a darling little market for your kids as well. They will love it! Enjoy!
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