How to Make a Toy Covered Wagon

By George Lawrence J.D.
Covered wagons were used by pioneers to move across the country.
Covered wagons were used by pioneers to move across the country.

Life was difficult for an American pioneer, putting the family and all the family’s belongings into a covered wagon and heading out West. The journey was long and filled with danger. Help capture those feelings and encourage your child’s imagination by building a toy covered wagon. These toys can be made out of most household items, and they make a fun activity for learning about pioneers and early American history.

Cut the clean, empty, milk container in half vertically to create the body of the covered wagon. Paint the carton brown and add black stripes to make it look like wood.

Cut the florist wire into four, foot-long strips (according to nps.gov). Bend the strips into “U” shapes and fasten them to the milk carton (use glue or staples). This will form the frame for the cover on the wagon.

Cut a piece of white cloth so that it can fit easily over the framework created in step 2. Sew the cloth onto the metal wires using the needle and thread.

Punch holes wide enough to fit the width of the wooden dowels into the front and back side of the milk carton. Slide one dowel rod into the front end and one into the back. Cut the dowel rods so less than an inch hangs out from each side of the carton.

Cut circles out of cardboard. Use sturdy cardboard, such as that from shipping boxes. Draw on spokes to create the wheels. Secure one circle to each side of the dowel rods to form the wheels of the wagon.

Things You Will Need

  • 1 half-gallon non-plastic milk container
  • Florist wire
  • White cloth
  • 2 dowel sticks
  • Cardboard
  • Brown paint
  • Black permanent marker
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Needle and thread

About the Author

Based in Traverse City, Mich., George Lawrence has been writing professionally since 2009. His work primarily appears on various websites. An avid outdoorsman, Lawrence holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in both criminal justice and English from Michigan State University, as well as a Juris Doctor from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School, where he graduated with honors.