Construct a Kid Size Cardboard Castle

What You Need:

  • Large cardboard box such as a refrigerator or washing machine box (If you don't already have one, ask for one at your local appliance shop. Chances are they'll be more than willing to let you have one.)
  • Marker
  • Yardstick
  • Box cutter
  • Tempera, spray, or wall paint (you'll need a lot of paint, so plan accordingly)
  • Large paint brush or paint roller
  • Twine or rope
  • Hole punch

What You Do:

  1. Start by cutting off the top flaps of the box with the box cutter. Parent only!
  2. Get your child to help you draw lines along the top of the box. Use the ruler (he'll get practice watching you!) and mark out a place every 4-5" inches. These will form the shape of castle ramparts.
  3. Once the notch pattern is drawn, carefully use the box cutter to cut out the notches.
  4. Now have your child draw a rectangle (or thereabouts!) with the marker where he wants the drawbridge to be. Make sure it's large enough for him to crawl through.
  5. Carefully cut out the top and sides of the drawbridge with the box cutter. Leave the bottom intact so you can open and close it.
  6. If your child wants, cut out some windows for the castle in the sides and back of the cardboard box. Be sure not to make the windows too large; too-big windows can make the castle less sturdy. If the castle starts to get floppy, you can repair it by duct taping a wooden dowel or a long strip of folded cardboard to the inside.
  7. Now it's time to paint the castle. Invite him to paint the sides of the box with the paint you're using. Encourage him to be as creative with the paint as he likes. If he wants an authentic look, he can make the castle gray with painted-on stones. If he wants something a little more unorthodox, he can paint the castle in rainbow colors or paint big flowers on the sides. It's up to him!
  8. To finish, punch two holes near the top corners of the drawbridge and two holes in the main walls next to where the drawbridge closes. Thread the twine through the holes and knot it to keep it in place. Now you have a working drawbridge that opens and closes.

Set up your kid size cardboard castle and let the pretend play begin! Every king (or queen) needs a crown, so why not fashion some regal head wear for your young royalty? Just cut out a crown from an empty cereal box and cover it with yellow construction paper.

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