a diy accordion cardboard castle

The true measure of a great kids craft book involves style, imagination, and accessibility. Playful by Merrilee Liddiard does that and so much more. This book is a treasured staple in our home and will continue to bring us loads of inspiration, playtime, and quality family memories.

I asked Parker to pick something out from the book that we could make together, and his first choice was the shield - he wanted to paint with a big P for Parker and another one for Matilda with an M. Within minutes they were made and he was imagining an epic battle. He even created a catapult with an old bouncy chair. That was when the idea of making a castle using Merrilee's signature supplies - cardboard and duct tape - hit me.

Here is how you can make your own:

Supplies: 5 large sheets of cardboard, three rolls of duct tape (I used two rolls of white and 1/4 a roll of pink), x-acto knife, ruler.

Process: First, measure and cut notches from the top of each cardboard sheet. I cut 6" in from the side and 12" down from the top for each sheet. Next, place duct tape around all the edges. If you want windows, doors, or slots, you could cut them out and add duct tape next. Now, place each piece side by side and add a 6" piece of duct tape across in three different spots creating a hinge - leave a slight gap to allow the pieces to fold for easy storage. Do this for both the front and the back of the castle. Continue to do this until all five pieces are attached.

Time: This took me longer than I expected - between 4-5 hours. But, I was very careful to measure everything - even one inch around every edge so that the duct tape would match up perfectly. This is something that we play with often - so the time spent was more than worth it.

The excitement and joy that the kids experience while playing in the castle is magical. They love that it is easy to move from room to room and can be set up so quickly. They also love that they can change the shape to fit the activity.

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