Miniatures ~ Medieval Castles

Part Two of a Three Part Series

I don't remember when the first cardboard castle was created in our home. I'm guessing it was at least a year and a half ago, when Celine was ten. 

Our children have a fascination, supported in part by Celine's voracious reading of that time period, in medieval Europe. Indeed, the middle ages (I'm using the term loosely here) is a regular part of our homeschool study.

As I disussed in the post Studying the World Through Reading and Creative Play the kids often explore what they've read or learned about through crafting and play. These external activities are an important part of their learning and I encourage them in these pursuits as they make history come alive.

I don't direct these activities in any way except by making materials available for them to use. And sometimes finding inspiration in books and online. This is not "mommy directed" learning, it definitely is their own, and is just as important as understanding math concepts.

Celine has been the main mastermind behind these three castles. She first built one for herself, which has since been renovated and improved. Celine also made two more to give to Brienne and Laurent for their birthdays. Now all the children have their own castle and sundry lords, ladies, stewards, ladies-in-waiting, scullery maids, peasants, carts, stock, banquet food, fields (alternating strips of green felt), stables etc.

All the kiddos have participated in creating the cast of characters who live in these castles - beasts and humankind alike. 

When the kids play "castles" the whole living room floor is transformed into a medieval scene and remains that way for several days until I get tired of stepping over and around the whole set up.

Cardboard castles have been an amazing source of entertainment, creative exploration and learning for our children. 

Next up in this miniatures series: revisiting Celine's dollhouse.

« Miniatures ~ Handmade Toys
Miniatures ~ Dollhouse & Resources »
  • Kyce

    Kyce on March 16, 2011, 8:16 p.m.

    Wow, these images are amazing in so many ways. First I am captured by the sheer appeal of miniatures and castles, but then the amount of study, attention to detail, and care in design and building sink in, and I'm just blown away. Tell Celine I'd love to see a tutorial of how her people are made.


    • renee

      renee on March 16, 2011, 9:27 p.m.

      My next miniatures post will have "how-to" resources. I'll mention your idea to the kids. Maybe they'll want to do a tutorial for you all...


  • se7en

    se7en on March 16, 2011, 9:54 p.m.

    These are brilliant... exactly like the real thing!!! Just brilliant!!! I love that everyone has their own kingdom so to speak... Oh the fun!!! My kids learn exactly like this - take the facts and make it their reality!!! Thank heavens for recycling collections because without them our school would sink!!!


  • Ashley

    Ashley on March 17, 2011, 1:09 a.m.

    Those are awesome! I love the creativity! I used to create things like that as a child but nowadays it seems like many children are too sucked into TV and video games. My daughter and I love to create things together, especially after reading about them. We are currently working on a barn because she got a set of wooden farm animals she adores, and we've been learning more about animals that live on a farm. :) Thanks for sharing this!


  • Karen

    Karen on March 17, 2011, 1:13 a.m.

    Incredible stuff here. Thanks for sharing the wonderful pics.
    Right now we're seeing "Helm's Deep" from The Lord of the Rings being constructed around here.


  • Maryam

    Maryam on March 17, 2011, 2 a.m.

    Wow, these are truly amazing! I can't wait to show it to my kids tomorrow, especially my daughter who has recently been making cardboard houses and furniture. She's going to love this :)


  • desilou

    desilou on March 17, 2011, 5 a.m.

    Kudos, Celine, your castles are brilliant, fantastic, and wonderful! I just adore the pictures of these amazing castles shared here. I wish that I had come up with making one of these my self. :)

    Renee, this post, combined with your creativity post the other day (you mentioned not considering yourself "creative") has got me thinking that I may just have to try making one of these castles myself. With all the moving boxes I have in the garage, I definitely have enough materials to start. :)


  • Natalia

    Natalia on March 17, 2011, 9:19 a.m.

    Wow, very inspiring. I totally agree with ' kids often explore what they've read or learned about through crafting and play. These external activities are an important part of their learning and I encourage them in these pursuits as they make history come alive.' We are currently in the throes of planning and filming a very convoluted story, using Playmobil and cardboard sets, that is a combination fairytale inspired by Grimm brothers/Odyssey style epic/viking style saga story. It is probably the first time my six year old has spent days and days working and thinking on a project. It is incorporating so many of the things he has been reading, it's fascinating to see the influences coming through.


  • Kika

    Kika on March 17, 2011, 4:39 p.m.

    What detail. So impressive. What will you do with all these creations when you move?


    • renee

      renee on March 17, 2011, 4:53 p.m.

      That's a good question. Everything but the keep actually folds up pretty good. I think they will be treated as toys, which they are. We are limiting the kids to a certain amount of toys/creations. Haven't decided yet what that will be. I dread going there. 


  • Jennifer @ kidoing!

    Jennifer @ kidoing! on March 17, 2011, 5:35 p.m.

    Amazing, amazing stuff! My daughter is drooling over these pictures. I love homemade toys and it's even better when your kids are the ones making them. I've done a lot of Waldorf reading and find that these (and the gorgeous dolls you posted yesterday) and very much in line with the spirit of Waldorf toys. When you think of materials to make available to them for creating, are you inspired by Waldorf?


    • renee

      renee on March 17, 2011, 6:01 p.m.

      Actually, I know next to nothing about Waldorf theories. Ok, not next to nothing but what I know is limited to what I've read at Rhythm of the Home and Simple Homeschool. I've never studied it. But from what I understand (limited mind you) our homeschool practice has a lot in common with Waldorf ideas. 

      I've pestered my sis-in-law (who has started homeschooling with Waldorf methods) to answer a few interview questions which I can post here at FIMBY to enlighten us all, myself included, about Waldorf homeschooling. 


  • Rosemarie Paulson

    Rosemarie Paulson on March 18, 2011, 2:04 a.m.

    Love the castles. My older son is looking to make some for his brother's birthday. Did you use any directions/books for ideas??


    • renee

      renee on March 18, 2011, 3 a.m.

      The kids didn't use any crafting directions but we have enjoyed these castles books:

      Castle Diary (this is one of the kids' favorites)

      Medieval Life


      A Medieval Castle

      My post tomorrow has some links for making people but I think I might have to get the kids to do a step by step tutorial of this.  


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