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Toy horsedrawn cart

Fun at home activity

Make a toy horsedrawn cart or carriage.

Two toy horsedrawn carts.


This activity was inspired by the horsedrawn carts and carriages on show in the exhibition Spirited: Australia’s Horse Story at the National Museum of Australia.

Time and difficulty

This activity takes about 30 minutes to an hour.

Hint: If you use materials from around the home, make sure you ask an adult first. You might need to get help from an adult with putting holes in lids to make wheels, hammering nails and cutting materials.


Children at our 'Carts, carriages and carousels' summer 2014–2015 Discovery Space made their own toy cart from materials including cardboard, screws, balsa wood, vinyl, foam and string. At home, you can make your own horsedrawn toy cart from everyday objects too. Here are some ideas.

What you need

  • Foam (we used some old packaging found in boxes that stored TV monitors).
  • wood blocks, Paddle Pop sticks, skewers or dowel
  • small plastic, foam or cardboard boxes or takeaway containers
  • jar lids, corks, toilet paper rolls or wooden spools (these can make interesting wheels)
  • cardboard or paper
  • scissors (remember, these can be sharp, so ask an adult for help)
  • hammer or drill (ask an adult for help if you are using tools as they can be dangerous)
  • glue, nails, screws and string (experiment with what works to attach materials)
  • decorative materials such as cardboard, fabric, vinyl, ribbon or string that you may have at home.

What to do

Step 1

Think about what life would be like without cars and imagine relying on horses for transport.

How would you attach a cart or carriage to a horse? Would you move people, bread, milk or something else on your cart? What materials can you use? How big will your cart be?

You might like to do some research or find a picture of a horse and cart. Check out our Spirited website for some more inspiration.

Carts in the Museum’s collection include (from left) a bakery delivery cart, the Ranken family’s coach and a milk delivery cart.
Carts in the Museum’s collection include (from left) a bakery delivery cart, the Ranken family’s coach and a milk delivery cart.

Step 2

Ask an adult to help you find your materials. You will need something for the base and body of the cart and its wheels.

If you are using scissors, a drill or hammer please take care and ask for help because scissors are sharp and electrical items can be dangerous.

Cut the materials to size and use the tools to punch a hole in the centre of your wheels. This will make the wheels easier to attach to the body of the cart later.

Materials needed for making a toy horsedrawn cart including: scissors, tape, glue, skewers, sticks and a foam box.

Step 3

Create a frame for the base of the cart using skewers, small sticks and/or foam. Use glue or string to bind the base together.

Step 4

Think about how you will attach the wheels. If you made your base from foam try pushing a skewer through the foam, then threading on the wheel. If your base is made of wood, you could ask an adult to help screw or glue the wheels onto it. Or you could draw some wheels on with pencils or textas.

A photograph illustrating Step 4 in the construction of the toy horsedrawn cart.

Step 5

Use wooden sticks or cardboard to make two shafts for your cart. Glue them to the base of your cart. Tie some string on the end of the shafts to make a harness to attach to a toy horse.

A photograph illustrating Step 5 in the construction of the toy horsedrawn cart

Step 6

Create the body of your cart using a small box or takeaway containers. You might also like to add a roof.

A photograph illustrating Step 6 in the construction of the toy horsedrawn cart

Step 7

Line your cart with vinyl, coloured paper or fabric for a smoother ride. You could also make your own horse toy using the instructions from our website.

tep 7 in the construction of the toy horsedrawn cart

Share your creation

Try making a few different types of cart and experiment with items they can hold. Share your creation with us by sending a photo to: We will add your photo to the National Museum’s Flickr stream, where you can see other craft creations from our Discovery Space.

Discovery Space

All of our fun at home activities are based on Discovery Space school holiday activities and are developed for kids to do at home if they can’t come to the Museum.  Check out what kids thought of our activities at the Museum.

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