Even in the age of computers and video games, children still enjoy playing "Wild West" in the backyard. You can create an entire western town with a few wooden pallets, paint and a little imagination. This is a great project to include your children in because they can make the western town truly their own. Ask your children what kind of buildings they want in the town, then have them help you design the buildings and paint them in unique ways.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Wooden pallets
- Scissors or box cutters
Gather wooden pallets for your western town. You may be able to visit local stores and ask for their old pallets, or offer a small amount of money to take the pallets off their hands. Dismantle the pallets and be sure to remove all old nails before allowing your children to assist in the project.
Decide what buildings your western town will include. Ask your children if they want a jail, school house, saloon, train depot, horse corral, bank, trading post, or houses. When you decide how many and what kind of buildings will be in your town, have your children sketch them out on cardboard to create patterns. Use a box cutter or scissors to cut out the patterns.
Lay wooden planks from the dismantled pallets side by side so you can trace the cardboard patterns on the wood. Number the wood pieces so you will know how they were laid out should they become mixed up. Place all the patterns before you begin tracing or cutting to optimise the amount of wood you have and reduce waste. Trace the patterns on the wood.
Cut the wood along your pencil marks. Nail the pieces together to make the buildings and create supports to keep the buildings upright. You may want to nail three pieces of wood together in the shape of a right angle triangle for your supports. You can attach one side of the triangle to the completed building, allow one side to sit on the ground, and let the third side provide additional support. Depending on the size of the buildings, you may need one or two supports per building.
Cut holes for windows and doorways, then help your children paint and decorate the buildings. You can be creative here and paint a saddle on one building, a cowboy hat on another, and so on.
Place the buildings around your backyard. You may want to group a few buildings together to create a town, and place others farther away.
Tips and warnings
- Make sure only adults operate any power tools and box cutters.
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