Winter Castle Small World Craft and Pretend Play
Kids can make a winter castle for exciting small world adventures. This winter castle, made with everyday materials, provides a perfect opportunity for adding both STEAM and pretend play to your daily activities.
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This winter activity is a craft, a science project, and an invitation to engage in small world play. The main ingredients are recyclables and everyday items from around the house or the craft cupboard.
There are endless possibilities for interpretation and innovation with this winter castle activity.
Kids can help choose materials, design the layout, and create stories around the characters who live in the castle. As they design and build a winter castle, kids will also build their creative and cognitive skills.
Winter castle small world play
With open-ended early learning activities like this one, participation and engagement are more important than the outcome. Kids can assemble a variety of materials that inspire creativity and experimentation.
Supplies for a winter castle
We chose white and silver materials for the castle to give it the frosty, winter appearance.
- large foam base
- white wrap and tissue
- white boxes
- white building materials (trims)
- foam packaging
- fluffy cotton batting, cotton cosmetic rounds or cotton balls
Other materials you have on hand can easily be used in place of, or added to, any of these items.
How to make a winter castle
Here are some suggestions for making the castle, based on the materials we used.
Build your castle on a large piece of solid foam packaging, or on a large piece of cardboard.
1. Cover some rectangle-shaped boxes or cardboard tubes with shiny or glittery papers to form the corner towers.
- Left: glitter tissue paper covers a cardboard tube
- Right: transparent cellophane with a snowflake design covers a tall rectangular box
- Center back: aluminum foil covers a tall rectangular box
2. Outline the perimeter of the castle with pieces of solid foam packaging, wood trim, and pieces of cardboard. Glue or tape the outline pieces in place to provide secure 'walls' for the castle.
- On the left, we covered a rectangular piece of cardboard with white wrapping paper. We bent the cardboard in the middle to form the corner wall of the castle. We placed a piece of white plastic trim across the top of the wall to make a small roof where we added two flags made with aluminum foil. and a white bird figurine.
3. Make individual rooms in the castle with small cardboard boxes. Cut an opening in each box for a doorway.
- We had some foam packing pieces with openings that resembled doorways. You can see one positioned in the back, left-hand side of the castle. We added the the triangle shaped cardboard boxes (these were packaging dividers in a large box) on top of the door frame.
4. Make a drawbridge and a set of stairs.
How to make a drawbridge and staircase
- Cut solid foam into decreasing sizes.
- Glue the pieces together to form a staircase inside the castle.
- Cut a door opening in a solid piece of foam packaging. Secure the door frame to the floor of the castle.
- Cut two pieces of corner bead to the required length to fit the door opening.
- Glue the two pieces of corner bead together in the required width to fit the door opening.
- Fasten the completed drawbridge to the door opening with paper fasteners through the side holes at the base of the drawbridge.
- Attach a length of narrow chain through a hole on each side of the outer end of the drawbridge.
- On the inside, insert a paper fastener near the top of each side of the door opening. This is where the chain will rest until it is needed to lower the drawbridge.
Add some snow around the castle with fluffy cotton or paper snowflakes.
A winter castle is magical and inviting provides lots of hands-on learning! Kids will love raising and lowering the drawbridge, and creating stories for their characters.
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