How did it all start?
Kids love playing with cardboard boxes. This is well know fact that seem to be universal across different cultures and generations. If there’s any cardboard in the house, kids will inevitably grab it and start crafting something.
This was quite literally driven home to me during Christmas of 2011, when my four-year-old son 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 of shipping boxes. Instead of playing with the RC race car and shiny new trucks we had spent so much money on, my son grabbed one of the larger cardboard boxes, jumped in it, and voila!…pretend sports car. This is a scene quite familiar to a lot of parents.
As I watched him play, an idea popped into my head. I don’t know where it came from, but the idea took hold and for the next 15 minutes I was in a frenzy of cutting and gluing. When I was finished, I had put together a simple helmet.
My son was happy with the helmet. He immediately put it on and started to flail his arms around pretending to have a sword. “Well that won’t work,” I thought to myself. “Now he has a helmet he needs a sword, a shield and … armor! Yes armor!”
So off to my workshop determined to complete his cardboard warrior play set. I heated up my trusty glue gun and cut up cardboard with my favorite scissors. After a couple hours of crafting I made a sword, shield and armor. Nice.
Working with cardboard is a lot of fun!
And, who knew it could be so durable? My son and his friends played the heck out of the cardboard warrior gear I made for him. After one year of serious play, the originals were still going strong, although their gear look like they been through some incredible pretend battles.
Corrugated cardboard is a durable and versatile material.
Pretend Play with Cardboard Toys
Another thing I like about corrugated cardboard is that it is a very kid-friendly material. It is lightweight, fairly strong, and recyclable. Unlike flat sheets of paper, it is easy to build 3D structures with and kids seem to intuitively know how to work with cardboard. Unlike plastic and other materials, cardboard lets kids decorate it with crayons, markers, paint, stickers,…just about anything you can imagine. One of the first things my son did after receiving his cardboard warrior gear is to personalize his shield with a dragon.
Corrugated cardboard is a kid-friendly material.
With my confidence increasing, I really wanted to challenge myself and see what else I can build with the corrugated cardboard material. With my creativity running wild and my ambition growing, I started planning my next corrugated creation. Hmmm…what to build? What to build? I know! Why not a Space Ranger helmet!
When I asked my son 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. My son 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!
No need for amazing feats of strength, make something cool and you can be your kid’s superhero.
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!
I am a dad of a 5.5 years old boy with a daughter on the way. Like a lot of kids, when I was growing up I had a lot of fun playing with cardboard boxes, especially the really big ones. I inherited my love of building and creating from my crafty parents. My mother was an art teacher and my dad was a cabinet makers and all around handyman. Even at age 70 he is still sawing and hammering away making beautiful furniture.
I started Crafteeo to create fun craft projects for families to share together. Each project shall be challenging enough to be interesting and the pay off for your efforts will be beautiful and fun toys that you and your kids can say “We Built That!”