Monday, August 10, 2015

Castle Week (Simple Summer Theme Week #4)

As I let Big Brother help come up with several of the themes for our Simple Summer series, some of them have made me stretch my imagination a little. It's been interesting to see what I can think of that sticks to the point of our simple summer weeks, yet still matches his theme idea. Castle Week was a bit of a stumper, but I think I came up with some good activities.

Castle Week was another week where I had several different aged kiddos, my two boys plus two visitors, so I had to think of activities that were approachable for all the kids.

1. Create a Cardboard Castle
Cardboard box play is such a classic childhood activity. We have become known as a family that loves cardboard boxes, and people often save them for us. So, when a coworker got a new grill, she of course passed the box onto us. Perfect timing for Castle Week! With some scissors and duct tape I rigged up this cardboard castle. The kids played in it, with the oldest being the queen, the middle two being her knights, and the littlest being the dragon.

Later in the week I let them decorate it with stickers, markers, glitter glue, sequins . . . just about anything they could find in the kid art bin. It was quite colorful!

2. Create a Jeweled Crown
We used poster board, some new jewels, glue, and permanent markers (so they wouldn't smudge) to create these fancy crowns. I pre-cut the poster board into four crown shaped pieces and the kids decorated them using the materials listed above. Each one was a little different. After the glue dried we stapled them to fit each child's head.

3. Create a Map of the Kingdom
Big Cousin (almost 9) was inspired to suggest this idea: create a map of your kingdom using poster board and markers. Both she and Bog Brother enjoyed creating their own kingdoms with interesting details like lakes, restaurants, candy shops, etc. 

4. Pool Noodle Sword
This activity/project was probably the most popular of all of Castle Week. The kids loved the pool noodle swords and had a blast pretending to fence with them. They were cheap and easy to make too! 

5. Family Crest Tinfoil Shield
Even though we weren't being historically accurate, the kids and I googled all of their last names in order to see what their family crests might have looked like. After we'd looked at some samples, they used permanent marker to color their own design. I had cut cardboard out ahead of time to look like a shield and wrapped it in tinfoil. I lightly taped the tinfoil on the back. They used permanent markers to decorate the tinfoil. 

Our shields were not quite strong enough to really be used but they could have been used with slightly stronger cardboard. 

6. Castle & Knights Playdough Play 
A few weeks ago we had made a great, almost gritty looking dough by adding coffee grounds to create our Build-A-Road Playdough invitation. This same dough was great for pretending it was castle material. We added in the knights and accessories from the Safari Knights & Dragon Toob. Even Daddy got in on this playdough play, as the knights took on each other and the dragon too! 

7. Build A Castle . . . With Marshmallows
One of the things that we enjoyed doing was looking through and reading selections of David Macaulay's book: Castle. Big Brother loved all the detailed drawings. After he had looked through it several times, I set up this activity: build a castle with marshmallows. 

Marshmallow and toothpick structures have been an activity I've seen several times on Pinterest. It was a great fit for this theme. Big Brother actually went back into the book to try and recreate some of the shapes he'd seen in the drawings. 

Although I wasn't quite sure how this theme week would play out, in the end we had a lot of fun with all our projects and activities! 

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