Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Paper Cup Castles

Hello everyone,
This week we'll do a really simple make. These cup castles are cheap and easy and don't require too much adult supervision. Except with the scissors of course.

First of all, a word about scissors.
This is a tricky one and as an infant teacher I have been all around the houses about this.
Most scissors that are designed for small children don't cut properly. The manufacturers, in their wisdom, have decided that the only safe scissor is a non-cutting scissor !  Actually, I have seen children hurt their hands by struggling with the tiny handles against whatever their trying to cut.
It's better to have slightly more grown-up scissors but supervise them more closely. I never allow scissors in bedrooms or in a room without an adult popping in and out.
Blunt-nosed or rounded ends scissors are good for little ones but make sure there is room for them to get their fingers in the handles. They should be sharp enough to cut paper easily and card carefully.  It is safer to have properly working scissors than allow children to become cross at frustratingly blunt ones. My kids and my pupils have always used well supervised junior scissors not infant ones.
Many parents won't allow little ones to use scissors and you'd be amazed how may children come into their first class at school unable to cut.
It drives the kids mad.....better to train them to use them safely.
Don't  forget that nowadays you can buy "left handed" scissors and even "either hand" scissors. It is also possible to get  scissors with special handles for children who need extra help gripping things.(These are more specialized but you can get them online.)
Shop around to get good ones... it's worth it. And at the end of the day, put the scissors away, out of reach !

OK, I'm may have noticed.... scissors are touchy subject !!

So, Paper cup castles. They're very quick and easy so you can makes lots of them. They're great to use with little toy people, lego men, plastic animals, toy soldiers and so on.

This is what we're aiming for ....

This is what you'll need ....

Paper cups.   Not plastic because the glue and the felt tips won't work so well. Plain paper cups are best, but you can use recycled paper cups after you've been out for a coffee !
Supervised scissors
Glue or sticky tape
lollipop sticks
Felt tip pens or crayons or pencils
Scraps of coloured paper or sticky coloured shapes. Maybe little stickers.

Here's what to do ....

1.   Prepare your paper cup.....rinse out the coffee (or black tea in my case), cover it in plain paper if you want to hide any logos or pictures. If you don't have cups, it can be done with cardboard tubes, cut into a range of lengths.

2.   Supervise the scissors to cut a door or two. Measure the height of the door against your toy people. Cut up one side and across the top to leave a door flap.

3.      Decorate the castle with felt tips or pencils.

4.   You can cut shapes out of coloured paper to stick on as flowers or simply as pretty colours.

5.   Make a small cut in the top of the castle (base of the cup) and shove a lollipop stick through to become a flagpole.

6.   Wrap the ends of a strip of paper around the top of the stick to make a flag.

7.   Add some more castles and small toys to make a whole village to play with.

All's done and well done !!

The children can then decorate as many cups as you can give them. This is a lovely activity to do with other little friends and they can be made as fancy as you like. You can add ribbons to the flag pole and add shiny stickers for princess castles or draw on dragons to battle with knights ! You can get cardboard trays from supermarmarkets (trays for catfood tins or coffee jars etc) just ask customer services. By putting the cups inside tray it becomes castle walls or village fences . Note the doghouse ! Decorate madly !

When the castles have been played with they can be easily stacked up and kept for to next time without taking up too much storage space.....which always helps.

Great fun ! See you next week.
Heli x