Have you ever noticed how much kids like to play with cardboard?

Boxes, scraps…it doesn’t matter. If there’s any cardboard in the house, a kid will inevitably grab it and start making something.

This was quite literally driven home to me during Christmas of 2011, when my four-year-old son, Lohen, made a mightier-than-usual haul. My wife and I had taken full advantage of online shopping that year, and wound up with a mountain (okay, maybe just a small hill) of shipping boxes. Instead of playing with all the cool toys we had spent so much money on, Lohen grabbed one of the larger cardboard boxes, jumped in it, and v,oila!…pretend sports car. (By the sound of his “vroom…vroom”s, I guessed it was at least a Porsche 911.)

As I watched him play, an idea popped into my head. I still don’t know where it came from, but the idea took hold and for the next 15 minutes I was in a frenzy of flashing scissors and hot glue. When I was finished, I had put together a horned helmet. A horned helmet! Awesome!

Wife-and-Son-Halloween-2012

I smiled at Lohen. Lohen smiled at me. The hero worship I saw in his eyes must have sparked the creative genius in my brain because I started imagining all sorts of things I could build for him out of these boxes.

I could build a sword. I could build a shield. Oh, and armor…can’t forget the armor. Off to my workshop I went.

Who knew cardboard could be so cool?

And, who knew it could be so durable? My son and his friend played the heck out of the cardboard warrior wear I made for him. After one year of serious play, the originals were still going strong.

Epiphany #1: Corrugated cardboard is a really tough material.

The Slaying of the Box Dragon

Another thing I noticed about corrugated cardboard is that kids realize quickly how easy it is to color. Unlike plastic and other materials, cardboard lets you decorate it with crayons, markers, paint, stickers…just about anything you can imagine. Cardboard is a very kid-friendly material. Lohen noticed this right away, and decided to personalize his new weaponry by drawing a dragon on his shield.

Epiphany #2: Corrugated cardboard is a great material for kids to color and personalize.

By this time, I was getting pretty enamored with cardboard. My creative juices flowing and my ambition growing, I started planning my next corrugated creation. Hmmm…what to build? I know! Why not a Space Ranger helmet!

When I asked Lohen if he would like a Space Ranger helmet, he gave me a puzzled look…until I showed pictures of space helmets from sci-fi movies and video games. Then he got excited!

So off to the workshop I went again.

It took me a few days, but I finally emerged with Space Ranger helmet in hand. Lohen was thrilled. In fact, the best part of the entire endeavor was the reaction I got from him when I presented him with the finished product. His eyes lit up, and the expression on his face was one of wonderment and awe! I felt like a superhero!

My four-year-old son’s dragon (which I initially thought was a caterpillar!)

My four-year-old son’s dragon (which I initially thought was a caterpillar!).

Epiphany #3: No need for amazing feats of strength, make something cool and you can be your kid’s superhero.

You can see my son’s handiwork in decorating his Space Ranger helmet.

You can see my son’s handiwork in decorating his Space Ranger helmet. So this brings us to Crafteeo, and the reason I am telling you about these helmets. What my son and I shared in making the first helmet was nothing short of magical. My goal is to help other parents craft their own magic moments with their kids. I can’t guarantee the magic will happen with everyone, but what I can guarantee is that you’ll have a lot of fun. I had tons of fun making these helmets, and my son had even more fun playing with them. You’d think these helmets would just appeal to boys, but we’ve found that girls are equally in love with them! Boys and girls enjoy helping to put them together and then giving the helmets their own personal touch. Preschoolers may not be able to sit through the entire build, but even they can help pick colors, punch out the pre-cut pieces, and maybe even paint on some of their own decorations. Best of all, though, will be the look in your kid’s eyes when he or she gets to play with their finished helmet for the first time. Nothing short of magic.

So let the play begin!