DIY: Castle Story Box

Well, I think you can see how thrilled this 2 year old was to hear about the cardboard box challenge we received from TinkerLab this week! We are thrilled to have been invited to take part, along with 20+ other bloggers, to celebrate TinkerLab’s anniversary and I can’t wait to see the range of creative ideas that come from using one, simple cardboard box! 

 We have been very big on storytelling recently and Cakie is just discovering the world of fairy tales with awe and wonder. She is particularly keen on Sleeping Beauty and Jack and the Beanstalk, so what better to turn this box into than a castle story-telling box?! As with previous DIY projects, this was a collaborative effort with me taking direction from her but stepping in to do the difficult parts, as this is something we hope to use as a toy and tool, not really a piece of art work.

 So, I started off by cutting turrets, windows and a simple flap for a drawbridge.

 She helped me thread some black ribbon through some holes in the door and above it, creating a simple pulley to open and close it. This was great as a discussion point and for experimentation.

 I tore apart another piece of the box to reveal the ridged section inside. I cut this and stuck it onto some wooden blocks to fashion simple print-making tools. Cakie used these to dip into paint and print stones/bricks all over the castle walls. (We painted it in emulsion first- a Farrow & Ball tester pot no less!)

 When it was dry they both went to town smothering the walls (and insides) with heaps of confetti glue. If you don’t own any of this stuff, you need it. It made the walls sparkly and shiny, perfect for adding a bit of magic.

 And we did a round up of all little people, horses and trees etc that we could find to add to start story telling. The magic wand came in very handy for turning me into a frog with.

 Together we reenacted Jack and the Beanstalk and then she was away. Independently retelling parts of the story, getting the little people to “Fee Fi Fo Fum” all over the place, climbing trees that became beanstalks and shrieking with delight as she discovered gold coins hidden in a pot. Hopefully she will continue to enjoy it and be able to use it as a story box for telling many other fairy tales and nursery rhymes too.

This activity is good for:
* working collaboratively
* independent play
* story telling/ retelling/ recount/ developing storybook language
* creative and imaginative development
Click through the other amazing ideas that are linked up below and leave some comments on your favourites! I hope this project continues as we have so many more ideas for things to do. 
What would YOU do with a cardboard box?


  1. says

    Anna, this is simply awesome! Just look at Cakie in the box — could she be any happier?! It’s a great reminder of how engaged children can be with simple materials. Our wooden dollhouse is mostly a dust collector, and I wonder if we’d use it more if we whipped one up out of cardboard and glitter. Thanks for being part of the fun!

  2. says

    Oh I LOVE the drawstring on your castle!! How cool! Brilliant!! Makes our castle look a little wibbly wobbly :-)

    Love making stuff out boxes. We have one permanent box in the corner, that serves as a hide-hole! :-)


  3. says

    I’ve said it before but I really really can’t wait for imaginative play to kick in……this is so great. I know J would love it. When we move in next week we will have sooooo many cardboard boxes and I am definitely keeping some for just this reason. Love it.

  4. says

    This is such a fun way to use a box! I can see lots of play happening going forward with the castle which makes it all worthwhile!

  5. says

    So much imaginative play here! I love the draw string bridge, too! And, your daughter’s pic inside the box is so adorable. The unadulterated happiness on her face is a joy to watch..!

  6. says

    Your castle looks amazing. My husband made daughter a very beautiful castle of wood following my less than stellar attempt at cardboard castle. It’s such a great way to act out the stories.

  7. says

    That will certainly come in handy for a number of topics in class! Thank you for linking to the Resource Centre!

  8. says

    Thank you for the wonderful idea. This was one of the first creative projects we did and our kids 4 and 2,5 loved it!

    We did not have the glitter you recommend, but we did use some leftover stickers and some corn starch (fisherTip) as we ended up having some balcony we had to decorate 😉

    You can find our story here(in English and Dutch):

    Thank you again for the inspiration

  9. says

    Kids are performing great creativity and great imagination, i can say after see this post that they may be a great craftsman. the craft’s image you have added in this post it has very nice look. I want to say thanks for sharing this great post.

    Instagram Canvas Prints

  10. says

    What a fantastic castle. Kids can make it and then have fun playing with their creation. I love encouraging kids in creating their own things. Great post.