Cardboard castle craft project for social studies, medieval history, book-based activities

Here's a craft project that can be used for anything from home, to classroom to youth theater: a cardboard castle. Make it grand enough to grace a stage or simple enough to stow in the closet for children's rainy day fun. Create one for preschool learning centers or high school history projects. This castle project makes a perfect complement to medieval social studies units. It can be a book-based literature response activity or book report alternative.

To start, make cardboard castle walls. Cut open two large, recycled cardboard refrigerator boxes. Tape two boxes together to make an octagon castle "keep." Cut cardboard castle battlements. Castle walls had a series of crenelations and merlons (squared edge thingys) along the top. Here are free printable patterns for medieval crafts and castle design ideas. Cut cardboard castle keep windows: Draw a four-pane window and cut openings.

Decorate recycled cardboard castle. Draw in bricks and a medieval family crest. Cut a drawbridge opening in the side of cardboard castle. Attach yarn to both sides of to lower and raise drawbridge. Cut holes in the top to tie drawbridge closed when the royal inhabitants aren't receiving company. Place blue blankets around the outside for the castle moat. Fill with stuffed animal dragons, fish, alligators and other aquatic creatures.

Make flags for cardboard castle. Royals had ancient family crests that symbolized their clan. These were placed on banners flown when the family was in residence. Banners were carried standards into battles. Have kids design their royal family crest. Here are free printable heraldry stencils for medieval crafts for kids. Make banners on squares of fabric cut from old bed sheets or towels. Draw or paint crest using permanent marker or fabric paint.

Make secret entrances for your recycled cardboard castle. Line chairs up to make a crawl-through tunnel entrance into castle. Drape sheets, blankets and bed linens over tunnel. Establish a
dungeon. Make a parapet (walkway) by placing several chairs or a bench along the inside edge of the castle. Soldiers keep lookout here and send prisoners to sit under the chairs in the dungeon sit under bench. Fashion a turret. Put a collapsible net laundry hamper upside down on a
chair inside the castle. Children crawl into hamper and onto chair to look out of the turret.

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