…a castle, and it was all free!
Today, after several months of playing, the boys and I finally dismantled our castle. You had a castle, you ask? Why yes, we did. And it struck me as we joyously ripped it down, that this could be a perfect Christmas present for those of you with kids in the early imaginative play phase. I love that it was free, we made it together, it required imagination and ingenuity, and it encouraged the boys to play on their own. It didn't add to our pile of plastic toys, and it was also quite fun to rip apart and race cars on the rubble. The ripping is still going on full force as I type.
I got this idea from Family Fun magazine early this year, and immediately began collecting cereal boxes. When we had other large boxes (new mirror, new shades from our remodel made a perfect turret) and toilet paper and paper towel tubes (perfect cannons and lookouts) we added those to the growing pile of castle supplies. It took several months to collect enough, so if you like the idea, start collecting now. Or get your neighbors/relatives in on it.
On building day, my aunt Krissy, who's always been my creative "mom," came to help us, and luckily brought tons of pizza boxes that she'd bought at Smart and Final, although I'm wondering if you could get some from your local pizza parlor? We gathered the supplies we'd been saving, plus tons of masking tape, and began making "bricks" of two cereal boxes or pizza boxes taped together. Krissy brought some old matte board from previous framing projects, and with a razor she cut those stair-step-up-and-down thingies that go on the top of the walls (oh, dear. I'm too lazy to find out their official name right now.) I had thought we'd use the toilet paper rolls for that, but her cut matte board was much better because it left room for the dinosaurs to stand on top of the pizza boxes and defend the castle.
It took most of the afternoon to put it all together, and the blue fabric Krissy brought to be a moat was a nice touch. Of course, we had a drawbridge for over the moat, too, and fierce stuffed animals to hide in the water. We did most of the work while Tyler was napping (ah, the good old days), but Jake was in on it all.
I love the idea of giving the boys a pile of boxes in an open corner of the house somewhere, along with a few castle books as a Christmas present. Maybe they could unwrap a treasure hunt clue that leads to a wrapped book somewhere in the house, that has another clue and leads to the pile of stuff with a picture of a finished castle! Then we could spend part of Christmas day making the castle together. Perhaps even some princess and knight's costumes would go well with this? (big old t-shirts with rope belts and duct tape along the bottom cut into zig zags. The duct tape will keep it from raveling.) It sounds like such fun that I almost wish we hadn't already had our castle fun. But maybe some of you can have a Christmas castle. And if you're lucky, you'll find some loving adult to sacrifice a night for a "sleepover" like our Nonna did.
Here's one last look that shows the turret (and the nursery mural I painted while pregnant with Jake…which will NEVER be painted over!) I've got quite a few more handmade ideas swirling around in my head, (and yes, some are for adults!) so keep checking back here for more!