When M. and B. were very small and we were in our very first year of homeschooling, we learned about castles. One of the best things we did that year was to build cardboard castles. They were played with and added to (including a wooden royal family) over that entire year. Those good memories came back to me as I was planning this school year and I decided that we needed more cardboard castles. So it was added to the schedule.
Yesterday was the day. I had collected quite a bit or cardboard, stocked up on tape, and set people loose. It was helpful that I had done this once already, even if it was a few years ago, so I had a sense of what was going to work and what wasn't. I knew that the younger ones could never create a castle for themselves... at the very least the cardboard is just too hard for little hands to cut. For them, I decided I would cut a simple castle shape and let them add and/or decorate as they desired. The older two were on their own. I should also add that we spent the earlier part of the week reading David Macauley's book, Castle. It gave everyone a sense of how castles were constructed and what parts they contained.
Here is what we ended up with. First, my very basic siege tower. (This is where having done this particular craft once before comes in handy, because I remembered how I made it the first time. The first one was probably fancier, though. I also had to inform the masses that there was going to be just one siege tower... they didn't each get one. They could think of it as Siege Towers R Us and come and rent it to attack a neighboring castle.)
Here's TM's. Can you tell this craft was right up his alley?
Inside the keep is the kitchen, complete with chimney for venting the fireplace...
and a portcullis which moves up and down.
This is K's. Here you can see the very basic castle design I cut out for the younger group. It is an empty paper box with crenelations and a door cut like a drawbridge. This is also what I made for G. and L. and (using a different box) for H.
The additions are all K.'s. He made various buildings within plus a trap door to send people to the dungeon.
Here's D.'s. His portcullis move up and down as well.
He didn't want just the keep, so was working on the outer curtain wall, but ran out of time... and steam. Here is the vaulted opening in the outer wall he was working on when fatigue struck.
I couldn't locate G.'s this morning, but did find L.'s... if you can see it amidst the stuffed animals. She wasn't happy with just the keep, either, and wanted a second floor. So what you see here is that tower I made with a second level taped on top of that, plus the house she taped onto that. It is rather an unwieldy thing and has a tendency to fall apart. It is distressing (and loud) when it does.
Here is H.'s. She understood that the drawbridge was to cover water, but I think was a little unclear on the whole thing. She does know how to decorate, though, and blank surfaces are quickly covered with her current favorite things to draw...
which are trees and flowers. It works on the side of the castle, I think, giving an illusion of being in a garden.
What you don't get to see the what my kitchen looked like at the end of all this castle building. (I didn't think to take a picture of the chaos; I just wanted it picked-up.) We were walking around in cardboard pieces ankle-deep. There were scissors, pens, tape, and markers strewn about everywhere. Paint and hot glue littered the counters. It was a true disaster. Somehow we managed to get everything picked-up to eat lunch.
I have a new article up: And Then Monday Happens. Take a look.