- Large cardboard box
- Assorted cardboard boxes, various sizes
- Packing tape
- Scissors or craft knife
- Non-toxic craft paint
- Narrow rope
Children love role-playing their favorite characters from the age of majestic kings, beautiful princesses and brave knights. While a few props and costumes can help transport them to a forgotten time, a real castle playhouse makes this type of imaginative play much more fun. You can design such a castle and personalize it for your little king or queen using plain cardboard boxes, packing tape and lots of imagination.
Collect as many large cardboard boxes as possible. The best ones come from large appliances or electronic equipment. Use smaller cardboard boxes for castle playhouse accents. You need at least one giant cardboard box for this creative project.
Open both ends of the largest cardboard box. Tape around the flap edges to make them stay open. The largest box will be the main room of the playhouse castle. Repeat with at least two more large cardboard boxes.
Tape the three large cardboard boxes together in a cluster. If you have more large boxes, complete the square or rectangle with a box on the other side. Use extra cardboard to close off the ends of the cardboard boxes that are not connected to one another. If you want to make a crawl-through castle, leave the ends of the boxes open.
Choose two more boxes that are the same size. Open their ends. They should then look like a square tube. Let your kids jump and step on them until the corners are rounded out. Be careful of packing staples. Once the boxes are more pliable, knock them into round cylinder shapes.
Stand each cylinder upright on the corners of the main castle box. Use the cardboard flaps on the bottom to attach the two pieces together with tape. Cut off excess cardboard hanging over the bottom box. Tape the top flaps upright together. Use a craft knife or sturdy scissor to cut square battlements at the top of these boxes.
Cut arched windows out of the cardboard boxes with your utility or craft knife. You can also cut arrow slits to create a different style castle. Study pictures of castles you find in books and on the internet to get ideas. The cardboard castle playhouse can be historically accurate or fanciful.
Cut out a large, rectangular door in the front of the cardboard castle playhouse. Cut out the top three sides only and leave the bottom edge attached to the cardboard box bottom. Bend this back and forth a few time to make it more pliable. You want this door, which will be the drawbridge, to lay down flat on the ground when not in use.
Punch small holes in the top corners of the cardboard playhouse drawbridge. Cut two equal lengths of rope. Tie a knot in the end of each. Run these up through the drawbridge so the knot keeps the ropes secure. Cut two holes near the top corners of the door openings in the castle wall. Run the rope through there as well. Be sure the rope is long enough to allow the door to open all the way. Tie knots in the ends of these ropes as well.
Paint the entire cardboard castle playhouse gray. Let your children use their imagination to add creeping vines, pennants and flowers along the bottom edge. Allow the whole castle to dry. It's then time to play!
Suggest games that children can play inside the playhouse. If you start by talking about a fairy tale with certain characters for each child, their imaginations will be more easily sparked.
Don't let small children play unattended in boxes. They could move and turn them in a way that could be dangerous.