Have you seen the cute little Scoop and Learn Ice Cream Cart toy? Our neighbors have one and it was a huge hit with our kids when we went over to play.

When Covid put a hold on indoor playdates, we came up with a really fun and FREE! idea to turn a cardboard box into an adorable Ice Cream Cart.

The best part was that the kids got to paint it themselves so it turned into an art project too. And only one kid ended up with paint in their hair!

I was nervous when they chose the blue, purple, and green paints because mixing those colors isn’t always the most appealing. But I try to give them creative control and it turned out really beautifully.

We cut out a few ice cream, popsicle, and cookie shapes from cardboard and made a few sweet treats for them to play with too.

The kids loved this little Toy Ice Cream Cart so much. We served countless ice cream cones, popsicles, and treats and I was surprised by how well it held up.

There are many ways you could tailor this project to fit your kids interests too! It could easily see it being a hot dog cart, a lemonade cart, a shaved ice cart, a paleta cart, and more.

Ice Cream Cart Toy 2.0 Upgraded Version

We’re coming up on warmer weather again this year and decided to make another Ice Cream Cart Toy for 2021. The 2.0 version is definitely upgraded and a bit fancier than the previous version. But you can’t go wrong with a simple ice cream cart toy either.

My son really wanted to add umbrellas this time around. We started with 2, but one just wouldn’t hold on.

Let me just say that a lot of hot glue and cardboard reinforcements are your best bet if you decide to make an umbrella.

For this version, he also wanted a specific color scheme, a menu, and to add a bell for the full effect.

It’s fun to see how different versions of this project have evolved. Creating sweet treats is part of the fun too. Check out these super cool cardboard ice cream cones we made with shaving cream puffy paint and recycled materials.

Game Recommendation

Speaking of ice cream, my ice cream loving kids also love this fun game called Scoop Up. It really helped our oldest, number-loving kid learn to recognize the patterns and order of larger numbers. If your kids are into games, I highly recommend it! If you’re feeling ambitious, you could even make a DIY version of the game yourself using cardboard.

Book Recommendation

If you’re interested in reading a really sweet book about frozen treats, I highly recommend, What Can You Do with a Paleta? ¿Qué Puedes Hacer con una Paleta?, written by Carmen Tafolla and llustrated by Magaly Morales.

We came across this book at our local library and my kids loved it. They requested to read it “again, again, again!” each time we finished it. We loved it so much we added it to our home library.

And if you’ve never had a paleta, they are full of fresh fruit and so delicious. This story might even inspire you to make your own delicious strawberry paletas.

Now, on to the Ice Cream Cart!

Ice Cream Cart Supply List

  • Medium to large cardboard box
  • Scissors or a box cutter – I recommend heavy duty cardboard cutting scissors but regular scissors will work too
  • Hot glue gun and glue stick (recommended) or strong tape
  • Paints, markers, paint pens, paint sticks (optional)


I didn’t take pictures while we were making our original cart, so we made a second one to show just how easy the process is!

Step 1 – Use a medium size cardboard box
Step 2 – Cut the long side flaps off the box using scissors or a box cutter
Step 3 – Using the cut off cardboard, draw 4 circles (or trace a lid) and cut out wheels
Step 4 – Draw curved lines on one of the remaining side flaps of the box for the handle
Step 5 – Cut out a center hole for the handle
Step 6 – Decorate the wheels and the Toy Ice Cream Cart with paint or markers (optional). This particular day the kids wanted paint sticks and markers instead of tempera paints
Step 7 – Glue on the wheels using a hot glue gun (you could use tape too though it won’t be as strong) and tape the other side box flap to create a little shelf for sweet treats

Side note – My oldest really wanted the second cart’s wheels to roll so we attempted to use brad fasteners. The youngest kept crawling into the cart and the brads weren’t strong enough to support the weight, so I don’t recommend that method. Hot glue was much stronger and withstood being dragged around inside and outside.

Step 8 – Grab your new Toy Ice Cream Cart and get to work serving up sweet treats!

By the way, we use a lot of Thrive Market boxes in our recycled creations. In case you don’t know about Thrive Market, it’s a wonderful online grocery store chock full of healthy and allergy friendly foods, cleaning supplies, health and beauty, and more. Their boxes are sturdy and great for recycled projects too!

More Inspiration

If you enjoyed this cardboard creation, be sure and check out this fun post with 12 Amazing Cardboard Box Crafts for Kids.

And if you love sweet treats, give this delicious and healthy Unicorn Milkshake Smoothie a try!

What Will You Create?

If you give this project a try, please share your pictures with us. We’d love to see what you create!

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