Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Cardboard Fire Station

Making believe is the gist of his whole life and he cannot so much as take a walk except in character.
Robert Louis Stevenson

A couple of years ago when Ethan said he wanted to build a fire station, I thought he was talking about a little one for his numerous fire engines. When he clarified that he wanted one that he could fit in, I was not sure where to start.

Inspiration came when we realized we could use his loft bed for the frame and the box from our new wagon for the walls. Curtains the he could open and close, a door through which the fire engines could come and go, and door knobs for the front door helped complete his vision.

One of the things I love about cardboard structures is that they are temporary, so when the kids have a new interest or want a new challenge, the box can be modified, stored or just recycled. To make these transitions easier, I like to use Velcro Cable Ties when attaching the cardboard to furniture like loft beds and table legs. They make it easy to attach and detach cardboard without ruining the furniture or the box. I did not take detail photographs at the time, but you can see the small black straps along the sides and under the main door of our fire station.

What always amazes me (a perfectionist) when creating things like this, with and for Ethan, is how much his imagination will take over to fill in the gaps, look past the inconsistencies in scale and smooth over the flaws in construction. I have to remind myself that it is more important to make it, than to make it perfect.

Now I implore you to go collect the props, set the stage, and open the curtain to your child's world of make believe.

For more creative cardboard project ideas, click here.


Anonymous said...

That is such a great idea Judy!!! So cute. The girls are always wanting to build forts and castles and stuff. We will have to try and make one from all our boxes in the basement. Thanks!!!! Have a great day. Miss you guys! Konni

Unknown said...

judy and jeremy, have you ever seen "christina katrina and the box"? it's about a little girl and her friend fats watson who take a refrigerator box and make everything from a castle to a dance floor as the box morphs from use. a family favorite here! i have loved box forts since i was little!!! vicki

Jeremy Dodgen said...

Konni, I'm glad we've inspired you!

Vicki, we love "Christina Katerina" too. In fact, I wrote a post about it January. I was so excited when I found it again at our teacher supply store last year. Ethan and I have gotten lots of inspiration from it.