Remember that miniature cardboard house we were working on last week? Well we went ahead and cranked out a Little-Smith-sized version and it's actually been a really great toy as well as hiding place.
I love cardboard. It's strong yet easy to cut through and it's typically made from recycled material and can be recycled itself.This playhouse could of course be constructed from leftover cardboard boxes (yay for re-use!). We happen to have a whole bunch of 30x40 sheets of corrugated cardboard hanging around from architectural model making, so we based the proportions and design of this house on that sheet size. Each sheet is just over a dollar and it takes five to make the house, so it's still inexpensive if you can't get free boxes.
We decided to use a "tab and slot" system to hold together the four walls and roof so that (theoretically) the house can be disassembled and stored flat. I wonder if we'll actually take it down or just wait for it's impending destruction!
The end walls have a series of tabs that lock into place with friction through slots in the side walls and roof. We made the roof out of a single 30x40 sheet scored in the middle and reinforced with a little packing tape so the score doesn't rip.
We made the tabs extra long. We actually like this exaggerated expression of the tabs (doesn't that sound fancy?) and it also make it more durable. The pieces can slide and shift a bit without accidentally coming apart.
It seems like Little Smith loves it. We tried to make openings of different sizes and heights for him to peer out of and he likes to sit in there with his turtle light that makes stars on the ceiling... so entertaining! He has toppled it over twice which is making us reconsider a floor for the next version. That would be much more complicated though so it's going to require some creative thinking.
So far the playhouse has held up pretty well but we're counting the days until Little Smith decides to officially trash it. It is kind of big in our small home, but we made it tall and narrow so it fits in our living room surprisingly well and since it's pretty disposable we don't have to worry about dealing with it forever. I'm kind of attached to it at the moment though, it's just so cute!
If you're in need of a rainy day activity I highly recommend a cardboard playhouse. Whether it's just a refrigerator box with a door cut in it or something a bit more complicated like ours, it's fun for little people to have a special spot to call home for an afternoon.