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Posted by Casey

If you’re like me, you’re probably super passionate about dramatic play. But sometimes the materials and props can be a little expensive! I searched high and low for market stands but they were either out of my budget or didn’t really suit the image I had in my mind. I wanted something simple yet open ended…that we could use for lots of different dramatic play spaces!

Eventually I settled on making our own! The first step involved me heading over to Pinterest to search for inspiration. There were so many amazing ideas! Many of the ideas involved re-purposing other furniture items from places like Ikea and Kmart. I saw a fantastic Lemonade Stand idea by See Vanessa Craft which caught my attention and inspired our design.

I love the idea of using crates so that we could pack away the market stand when we didn’t need it. So once I briefed my husband Kurtis on my plans, we decided on the KNAGGLIG crates from Ikea. A lot of the hacks online just used two or three crates standing side by side but I wanted something with a bit more storage. We headed to Ikea and picked up four of the large KNAGGLIG crates! They are 46x31x25cm in size. After we stopped in at Bunnings and grabbed some dowel, a per-fabricated table top and some bolts. Then it was time to get DIYing!

Ice cream shop dramatic play, sushi shop dramatic play | DIY Market Stand for Kids | IKEA Hack | Ikea kids play hack | Play ideas for toddlers, preschool, kindergarten | Play-based learning, imaginative play, dramatic play, role-play | Australian teachers |

The finished market stand – Ice Cream Shop and Free Sushi Shop printables!

What do you need?

  • 4 x KNAGGLIG crates from Ikea
  • 2 x pieces of dowel from Bunnings (roughly 20mm thick)
  • 1 x hardwood panel (timber look) from Bunnings
  • 1 x pack of 25mm bolts
  • 1 pack of 50mm bolts

How do you make the market stand?

Step 1 – First we had to assemble all of the KNAGGLIG crates. Once assembled, Kurtis drilled holes in the crates and used the 25mm nuts and bolts to attach them together. We laid two crates on top of each other length ways and then attached another two crates beside them. This was the base of our market stand!

DIY Market Stand for Kids | IKEA Hack | Ikea kids play hack | Play ideas for toddlers, preschool, kindergarten | Play-based learning, imaginative play, dramatic play, role-play | Australian teachers |

Step 2 – Kurtis drilled holes on each side of the market stand and then bolted the dowel poles through the holes using the 50mm bolts. He also added a screw to the top of each pole so that I can easily attach bunting to the tops!

Step 3 – Finally, Kurtis added the bench top. This step was a bit tricky and you can totally leave it out. He lined up the bench top and then chiseled out holes so that we could slip the bench top down over the dowel and onto the stand. We didn’t secure this at all because we wanted to be able to take it off as needed.

DIY Market Stand for Kids | IKEA Hack | Ikea kids play hack | Play ideas for toddlers, preschool, kindergarten | Play-based learning, imaginative play, dramatic play, role-play | Australian teachers |

If you wanted to, you could totally paint the market stand…but I just love the raw look! I absolutely love how there is so much storage on the back as well! You could even use that side for a traditional market stand for fruits and vegetable market play!

The image below shows how I set up the back of the stand for our Sushi Shop. You can grab the printables for my FREE Sushi Shop by clicking here!

DIY Market Stand for Kids | IKEA Hack | Ikea kids play hack | Play ideas for toddlers, preschool, kindergarten | Play-based learning, imaginative play, dramatic play, role-play | Australian teachers |

About the author

Casey is an early years teacher turned stay at home mum to three little learners aged 6 and under. She is passionate about supporting parents that want to use play as a vehicle to bond with their little learners and create magical memories of childhood! You can follow Casey on Instagram right here.


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  1. Thank you for sharing these plans with us! This is an adorable and affordable way to expand your dramatic play area! I will definitely be looking into this my my preschool classroom.

  2. I just built this today with my 7 year old who has been asking to run a lemonade stand. It was really simple and fun. Thanks so much for the plans. We will most definitely use it inside afterwards for a play market stand.

  3. Love this! Will be making today for our farmers market dramatic play for October. I also love the 3 tiered ladder shelf you have in the ice cream shop photo. May I ask where you purchased it? Thanks!

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