There’s just something about a big cardboard box that simply fascinates most children. As many parents know, sometimes a child will be more likely to play with a toy than the box that the toy came in. If your child is a bit bored this winter because the weather is too cold to go out and play, why not help them create an imaginative cardboard box winter play castle? You can probably find everything you need around the house, making this truly a “scrap craft” project.

Materials You Will Need

Of course, the most important material for this project is at least one really big cardboard box. If you’ve recently purchased a large appliance such as a stove, refrigerator, dishwasher or washing machine, you could simply use the box it came in. If you don’t have a large cardboard box, appliance stores will often give you one for free if you just ask. If you are lucky enough to find more than one large cardboard box, then you can make an even larger and more elaborate winter play castle. You can also utilize smaller boxes, connecting them to the large box to serve as tunnels and doorways. In addition to the cardboard boxes, you’ll also need decorating supplies. This could include construction paper, paper plates, crayons, markers, waxed paper to create realistic windows, plastic flowers for decorations, and anything else that catches your fancy. You’ll also need a pair of sturdy sharp scissors or a box knife, a ruler or yardstick, a roll of packing┬átape or duct tape and a pencil or marker. You could also use any kind of latex paint to decorate the inside or outside of the box.

Preparing the Cardboard Boxes

Before you allow your child to crawl into the box, examine it carefully. Sometimes boxes are constructed using sharp staples and other metal fastening devices, which could cause injuries. If you find any staples, remove them and reseal the boxes with packing tape. You’ll also want to cut the boxes where needed, using scissors or a box knife while wearing protective gloves. Once all the cuts are made, you’re ready to let your child help with the construction and decorating process.

Assembling the Winter Play Castle

If you are utilizing more than one cardboard box, connect them using packing tape to form the basic castle structure. Once this has been completed, you can turn over most of the decorating decisions to your child. Some children prefer a more simplistic castle, and just want to get inside and start playing. However, if your child has a lot of artistic creativity, he or she could spend hours painting and drawing on the castle, to get the look just right. You can cover windows with waxed paper to give the appearance of glass windows, and even make a wreath for the front door. Cereal boxes can be affixed under the windows to form flower planting boxes. Inside, your child could hang artwork on the walls, use wallpaper scraps to decorate, or even make pretend furniture out of construction paper or lightweight cardboard. In fact, there’s really no end to the different methods you could use to decorate your cardboard box winter play castle.