Friday, 14 September 2012

Toddler Craft Activities - junk castle

As regular followers of this blog will know, I try to have a vague theme for each month.  I also love doing creative activities with the children.  Sometimes I just don't quite get around to getting stuff set up and nothing happens.  This week I looked at the title of our theme, "History", and my plan to do some model-making, and I got a wave of inspiration - A castle!  

I headed into the recycling box and came out with a shoe-box full of tissue paper (Hubby had a new pair of shoes), a kitchen roll tube, an old cardboard box that I had emptied and not found a use for yet, and two cardboard ice-cream tubs.

First I showed the children how to use selotape to attach the boxes together.  We opened the flaps on the larger box and C used selotape to attach them at the corners.  C then practised his scissor skills cutting all the way down the kitchen roll tube, and cutting slots in the ice-cream tubs.  I used a sharp knife to cut crenellations in the top, to cut the lid off the shoe box, and to cut out a door-way and some narrow windows.  C then slotted the ice-cream tubs on to the top of the shoe-box, and used selotape to fix the kitchen-roll tube on to one corner of the large box.
The next job was to cover the entire structure with a 50:50 mix of water and PVA, cover it all with tissue paper and apply another coat of the watery glue - this makes the paint stick even where the cardboard box is shiny or there's selotape.  We then left it to completely dry out over night.

The next day we painted the entire castle in grey.  We started at the table, but they couldn't reach inside the boxes so we transferred to the kitchen floor.  (Afterwards the clothes went straight into the washing machine and the children went straight into the shower - then I shut them out of the room while I cleaned the table and floor!).  They did well sharing the pot of paint.  C learned that to make grey we use black and white.  We left the paint to dry overnight.
Today we completed the project.  The children had a tray with green at one end and yellow at the other end, which they were free to mix as much or as little as they wanted.  Their instructions were to paint trees and bushes around the bottom of the castle - as you can see they went more with the idea of ivy!  While they were doing that I painted around the crenellations and windows in black, and added in some extra windows and also some stone-work effect lines in black.

So there we have it, three days.  The cost was virtually zero - just a bit of PVA and some paint - definitely less than a couple of pounds - and we have a castle which they are delighted with and feel a lot of ownership and pride in.  I'm not sure what we're going to do with it, we don't have any knights or kings, or dragons or damsels - perhaps we'll need to make some of those too!

The best bit is that we are going to Wales tomorrow for a week, so we're going to be visiting plenty of real castles, and also seeing some steam trains - all in keeping with our History theme!  I can't wait to see how they choose to play with the castle when we return.

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