Build It! Wood Kid's Dump Truck Toy

This incredibly simple, educational, and interactive toy teaches kids how to handle and use tools while building! Developmentally, this is also a very useful toy, as the child is able to practice dexterity and positioning of different shaped objects (pick and place skills). Centered around a colorful dump truck, the child will place the bed, cab, and wheels over the threaded inserts and use the provided drill to secure each piece in place with screws.

It is important to me as a maker and a father that my daughter understand how to build and use tools. What I didn’t know was how much my 2 year old hated plastic toys and any other toy that wasn’t the real thing. Give her a plastic hammer or drill and she’ll just stare… So I made an interactive toy for her to use a REAL drill to screw wooden wheels onto a truck – and she LOVES IT! (Granted its not 100% age appropriate…) Quite a few of these toys have since been built and its a hit! Below are the supplies and build instructions needed for you to make your own!

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. For commercial reuse or inquiries, contact Info@DisruptivNation.com.


Needed Parts & Tool

Parts

Tools

  • Drill
  • 1/4″ Drill Bit
  • 5/16″ Drill Bit
  • 1-1/2″ Spade or Forstner Bit
  • Sand Paper
  • Hand Saw
  • Laser Cutter, Scroll Saw, or Jig Saw
  • Paint brush & paints
  • Clear Spray Enamel
  • Wood Stain
  • Hammer
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Step 1: Preparing Materials

This step is to cut and sand all the needed materials for the project. The items needed are,

  • One – 2″ x 8″ x 11″ Board (1-1/2″ x 7″ x 11″ True Dimensions)
  • Three – 1-1/4″ Long 1/4″ Wood Dowel Rods
  • One – Dump Truck Bed Cutout
  • One – Dump Truck Cab Cutout

For the board and dowel rods, these pieces will need to be cut to the appropriate lengths. For this design, the board will need to be no less than 11 inches long (it can be a bit longer if you want more room, but the template is for 11 inches). Once the board is cut, sand all of the edges,faces, and corners, we do not want any risk of splinters or sharp corners. The dowel rods simply need to be cut into three 1-1/4″ lengths, and round off one end using sand paper.

To prepare the wood bed and cab cutouts, I utilized a laser cutter. If you have a laser cutter, drop the PDF, “Wood Dump Truck Drill Toy – Dump Truck Cutout Pattern”, into your laser cutter and go to town! If you do not have a laser cutter, see the below PDF to print and paste to a board to hand cut the dump truck cab and bed from the piece of 1/4″ utility board.

Note: When you print the documents, ensure that “Actual Size” is selected and not “Fit”, otherwise the paper will not be printed to scale.

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Step 2: Drill a Bunch of Holes

Utilize the below document, Wood Dump Truck Drill Toy – Hole Pattern.PDF, to assist in hole placement. Print off the sheet and secure to your board by aligning the top left corner of the sheet to a corner of the board such that the edges left, right, and top edges align. Now drill the 1/4″, 5/16″, and 1-1/2″ holes to the stated depths on the document. The bottom 5 5/16″ (0.31) holes will later house the threaded inserts; these holes must be deep enough to accommodate the screws. I utilized 1-1/4″ screws for playfulness and to make the parts larger for handling.

Note: When you print the documents, ensure that “Actual Size” is selected and not “Fit”, otherwise the paper will not be printed to scale.

Once all the holes have been drilled, clean up the holes with sandpaper to ensure no additional splinters were created.

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Step 3: Attach Inserts

Time to take your 1/4″ wood dowel rods and threaded inserts and insert them into the board. Place a dab of wood glue on the non-rounded end of the dowel rod, and insert a rod into each of the 1/4″ holes – it will likely be necessary to hammer these into place to properly seat the rods.

Push the end of a threaded insert in the 5/16″ holes on the bottom bottom of the board. Once the tip of the insert is on the hole, hammer in place. If you are utilizing a different type of threaded insert, install as appropriate.

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Step 4: Paint & Stain

Steps for this session are to stain the assembled board and paint the dump truck cutout and wheels. I stained the board using “Provincial” and then used black spray paint for the wheels.

Since my wife is outstandingly artistic and talented, she took the lead on hand painting the dump truck cab and bed. Helpful tip: paint the back of the dump truck in a solid color. The wood fibers are closed off on the painted end, and you will prevent the wood from warping by painting both sides.

Once the stain and paint is dry, it is a good idea to protect your hard work from the wear and tear that is norm of a child. Place a few coats of spray enamel on all the surfaces.

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Step 5: Final Assembly

This step can be left to the child, but you might as well have some fun too!



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