Kids of every generation may daydream about the olden days when castles were homes to fairy princesses and knights in shining armour, wizards and even assorted dragons. If your children are keen on the magic of those far off days of storybook tales and enchantment, let them indulge their fantasies with a homemade castle for their dolls and dragons to play in. A bit of imagination with a few cardboard boxes, a bottle of glue and assorted craft materials are all it takes to recreate Camelot.
Choose a large square box to make the main walls of the castle. Cut off the top flaps all around, and cut out a rectangle on one side of the box for a drawbridge (parents may want to help with this).
Paint the box inside and out in light grey or tan and draw outlines of rocks all over to look like stone walls. Paint the inside bottom of the box green to look like the grass of the grounds inside the castle's outer walls. Paint the drawbridge brown to look like wood.
Find a much smaller square box to fit inside the first box (about one third to about one half the size of the first box) and paint the smaller box to look like stone. This is the "keep" where the king and queen live, and it is always inside the outer walls of the castle.
Glue a few tiny boxes (single serving cereal or jewellery boxes) and towel tubes on the smaller box to make extra living areas and decorative turrets on the castle. Make roofing for the extra living areas with scraps of cardboard. Use small paper cups for round turret roofs.
Add larger tubes, such as oatmeal containers, to the corners of the outer walls to function as guard towers.
Embellish the castle with painted windows and doors, ivy or whatever the imagination dictates.
Make stables and outbuildings from more small boxes, using markers or crayons to make them look like wood or straw. Use the markers or crayons to draw doors and windows.
Cut triangles of coloured paper or fabric scraps to make pennants or flags to put at the tops of the turrets.
Add human figures, toy animals, carts, fences to put inside the castle.
When making the drawbridge, leave the bottom attached, cutting out only the sides and top. Glue a piece of yarn or a small chain (from a discarded necklace) to the ends of the drawbridge. Punch a hole on either side of the door opening with a sharp nail and run the other ends of the chains through it so kids can raise and lower the bridge by pulling the chains from the inside. Make trees and shrubs for decoration inside the main walls (the castle grounds) by twisting pieces of fluffy green pipe cleaners around sticks. Add low plants to represent gardens, made with smaller pieces of pipe cleaner, miniature pom-poms or tiny painted pebbles. You can paint red dots on some of the trees to make an apple orchard.