Children become intrigued with castles at a very young age, and they continue to be fascinated with them for many years. Castles fire up kids' imaginations as their reading tastes move from Snow White to the Knights of the Round Table. Making little castles out of recycled materials can provide hours of fun for the kids themselves, followed by many more hours of imaginative play using small dolls and action figures. Personalising their own castles gives kids lots of opportunity to express their creativity.
Remove three of the four flaps from the top of the box; leave one flap attached. Turn the box over. The open part of the box -- the part from which you cut the flaps -- will become the floor of the castle, and the opposite side will become the roof.
Using a craft knife, cut the drawbridge from the side of the box with the remaining flap. Create it by cutting a rectangle about 15 cm (6 inches) wide and 30 cm (12 inches) high, making sure to leave the bottom of the drawbridge attached to the remaining flap.
Create as many windows and doors as you like using the craft knife. Also cut windows in the oatmeal containers. Vary the size and shape, perhaps creating long, narrow windows in the oatmeal boxes and shorter and wider windows in the castle itself.
Cut a 30 cm (12 inch) wide by 45 cm (18 inch) long rectangle in the top of the castle to allow access to the inside.
Glue an oatmeal box on each corner of the top of the box to serve as towers.
Make the turrets (roofs) of the towers by cutting and discarding pie-shaped wedges from paper plates and then bringing the remaining edges of the plates together to form cones. Staple edges together. Glue the turrets to the towers with hot glue.
Make the battlements around the top of the castle by cutting rectangles out of the flaps you removed in step one (see illustration). Make the battlements about 5 cm (2 inches) high and glue them to the top of the castle, joining them at the corners for strength.
Spray-paint the entire castle with a stone-coloured paint. When dry, make stone-like markings with the black Magic Marker.
Make small flags out of card stock, glue them to toothpicks and then glue the flags to the centre of each turret.
Glue cord to each side of the drawbridge and attach to the castle.
Allow the children's imaginations to run wild: let them paint and decorate the castle in any way they choose.
Do not allow children to use craft knifes or hot glue guns.