We’re kicking off our castles unit with a royal structure of our own! This tutorial recommends using a big box, but you can also build your structure using paper towel rolls (for the towers) and scrap pieces of cardboard if a box isn’t available.
As you build, discuss the parts of the castle as you see in your castles book. (We’ve recommended a few of our favorites below!) If you have a very imaginative child, don’t rush them through this project. They may want to decorate their castle or continue open-ended play with dolls or figurines that live in the castle. This play is learning, too!
Hold onto your castle throughout the week (and beyond!) to incorporate it into other activities and freeplay as you reinforce the lessons you learn in this unit.
What you need:
- medium to large cardboard box (or you will need 4 paper towel rolls, 4 pieces of scrap cardboard, and tape or glue)
- paint (black and gray)
- craft knife or scissors
- string, ribbon, or yarn
- sponge (optional)
- single hole punch (or you can use your craft knife or scissors)
- 2 pony beads (optional)
- straw (optional)
What to do:
If you are working with a box, start by cutting out the top to resemble four towers, one in each corner. (If you are using paper towel rolls, cut the tops of the towers out of each roll, then tape or glue your structure together using the scrap cardboard for walls.)
Cut an arch-shaped door on one side, leaving the bottom edge of the door attached (this will be your drawbridge). Use the hole punch (or craft knife or scissors) to make two holes at the top of the door and two holes on either side of it in the castle wall.
Now, it’s time to paint your castle! We painted ours a dark gray, and then we used a sponge technique over it in a lighter gray to resemble stone. Let your child paint their castle as desired.
Once the paint is dry, it’s time to create your drawbridge. Take a piece of string, about 20 inches long. Cut a section of the straw (about 3 inches) and thread the string through it. Next, thread each end of the string through the castle wall (so the straw is inside the castle) and then through the corresponding holes in the door. Knot each end of the string with a pony bead to keep it from slipping through, trimming the string so the door opens all the way flat without being too long. The door should now be able to be pulled closed using the string (with the straw acting as a handle).
To finish off your castle, you can create four tiny flags using the cardstock and toothpicks. Stick these into each tower, and get ready to play!
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