Cardboard castle craft for preschool learning centers

Here's a craft project for preschool learning centers--a cardboard castle. Cut apart two large, recycled cardboard refrigerator boxes. Tape two boxes together to make an octagon castle "keep." Cut windows and battlements--a series of crenelations and merlons (squared edge thingys). Draw a four-pane window and cut openings. Hang curtains in windows (not exactly medieval crafts appropriate, but very festive!)

Have kids decorate cardboard castle. Draw in bricks and cut a drawbridge opening in the side. 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 secret entrances. Line chairs up to make a crawl-through tunnel entrance into castle. Drape sheets, blankets and bed linens over tunnel. Set up 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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