- Pictures of different castle types (see children's books, travel books or brochures, and online resources)
- Chart paper
- Drawing paper and pencils
- Sand, glue, and glitter mixture
- Several large cardboard boxes
- Assortment of geometric shapes to build the castle (cardboard cones, tubes, and egg crates)
- Utility knife (to be used by an adult)
- Construction paper, fabric scraps, craft sticks, colored foil, child scissors, glue, masking tape, duct tape, string, markers, tempera paint, and paint brushes
- Creative thinking
- Problem solving
- Fine motor
Set Up and Prepare
Collect pictures of castles from magazines and old picture books and glue them onto separate sheets of oaktag paper.
Step 1: Write the heading "Castles" on a sheet of chart paper. Ask children to share what they know about castles and record their comments. Show them pictures of different types of castles and encourage them to notice the differences and similarities. Explain that they will work together to design and build their own individual castles.
Step 2: Divide children into two groups. Keep photos of castles available for them to use as a visual resource. Engage each group in a discussion about what they would like their castle to look like. Pass out crayons and paper and invite them to draw their own castles. Suggest that they share their drawings and work together to design one castle. Record their ideas.
Step 3: Provide each group with a variety of art materials to construct and decorate their castles. They can paint a textured surface on the boxes by using a mixture of sand, glue, and glitter. Otherwise, children can use tempera paint to make a colorful castle. Use the utility knife to carefully cut out the windows, doors, or decorative shapes that children may want to include in their design.
Step 4: Celebrate the completion of the castle project with a royal breakfast celebration! Invite children to make crowns before the event and suggest they dress up for the occasion. Invite family members to stop by in the morning to have breakfast with their child and to see his castle. Afterwards, place the castles in the block area for children to use during playtime.
Remember: Children's original ideas may change or evolve as they build. Additionally, conflicts may arise that may require the support of an adult.
House of Cards
Encourage parents to work with their child to make a "house of cards" using a deck of playing cards or holiday greeting cards.
Curriculum Connection: Language and Literacy
The Coolest Castle
Invite children to write individual stories about their castle. Ask them to imagine what it would be like to live in their castle. What would they do? What type of clothes would they wear? Invite them to share their stories during the breakfast celebration.