So after asking for some ideas for our dramatic play area we decided a castle was a must!! How have I never thought of this before? Thank you sweet friends for the idea. My girls are in love.
Shockingly this was very easy. We remodeled our house last year and I saved a bunch of our big boxes so I kinda lucked out in the cardboard needs. This activity is still completely doable with smaller amazonish boxes, you just will have a bit smaller castle. Remember children are supposed to use their imaginations when they play so just give them some basic props and let them go with it…unless you had to install 3 showers, 3 toilets, and 3 vanities in the last year and you have a million giant boxes, then go big! Ha!
(Also remember your local stores often have boxes they are just scrapping. I have found that if I go in ahead of time and ask if they could save me a few of their bigger boxes it works better. I just ask them which day I should come pick them up.)
- Cardboard box(s)
- Permanent marker
- Prince and princes props (this is really vague I know, just go with what your little prince or princes would be interested in)
- Grab your boxes! Brake your boxes apart. Then simply tape a few together with some duct tape to make a wall. (If possible use the brown side as the outside of the wall).
- Find a place in your house where you can lean your castle wall against something, like a couch and a wall.
- Then draw some stone or brick lines on the brown side of your box to make it look a little more authentic. (I even tapped a little butcher paper over some of the words on our boxes. I have also seen more motivated mothers spray paint their box….that should obviously not be down while said box is leaning against your couch…your welcome fellow sleep deprived mothers.)
- If your wall is tall enough, or stable enough cut a little door out of it with a sharp knife. If my box had been smaller I would have just left one side open for the door way. Maybe place a trusted stuffed dog near the door to protect the entrance. (Remember if you are going simple on your props you might need to have spend a few extra minutes thinking up some starter scenarios for your child. This will help them jump right into their play).
This is what the inside looks like
My girls ALWAYS end up taking pretend naps during their imaginative play time. I am always unsure if this means I force them to nap too much or does it mean they should be sleeping more? So I split the inside to have a bed and a living area.
In the bedroom their is a sleeping bag, pillow and dress ups.
In the living area I have a “couch” with some princess books and a few baskets of pretend food. Again my girls are obsessed with princes tea parties so I knew that would catch their attention.
That is it! That is all I did. A giant box+dress ups+sleeping bag+fake food+books! Don’t try to go crazy with cute ideas or home made goodies. If that stuff brings you joy GO FOR IT!!! But don’t feel too worried about filling the castle with perfect props. Just see where your child takes the play…speaking of child I then let my 5 year old at it, my other girls were napping.
Within a few minutes she had spread out the food on the floor and I realized she needed a table. I grabbed an empty diaper box and threw a pink blanket on it and BAM, tea time is ready. Mrs. 5 also informed me Princess’ need toys so she grabbed her magnets and a harp. (I do control how much junk can go into small spaces. My girls always like to hoard a ton of toys into small tents or corners and then they don’t want to play in their anymore because its a disaster. I told my daughter Princess’ were tidy so she could pick 2 toys and if she needed more she could put one toy back and get a new one.)
With in a few minutes of play you should be able to see an item or 2 that would help your little one take their play to the “next level”. I saw my girls needed a table and some toys so we added them. I also know they are always going on adventures to find food or get a friend so I added their stick ponies for their ‘travels’. Maybe your little one needs a bad guy to defend the castle from…enter terribly mean teddy bears that want to attack the castle. Maybe they are watching a princess friend’s baby for the day…enter baby doll. Maybe your little one is going to have a castle party soon…enter paper and crayons for invitations and maybe a few posters need to be made to decorate the castle? Just see what your little one starts to play with first and think…what would Sofia, or Tangled and Flynn need next?
Thank you so much for the idea!!! This will be one of my girls favorites. Please tag adventuresofourplayfulhome if you make a castle of your own! We’d love to see your little one having fun!