A few weeks back I gather up half a dozen boxes of various sizes that had been hanging around the house (I really don't know where they all come from) to start a new imaginative play prop for the Little People, a ship! A ship just big enough for the 2 of them to get in so they can play pirates and ship wrecks and all the other fun games I used to like to play as a child.
I took the boxes apart and assembled them into something that resembled a boat shape then taped them together with masking tape. Of course the kids jumped straight in to play but it wasn't holding together very well so once they went to bed I got out the trusty PVA glue, which I mixed with a little water in a dish, and an old catalogue and set to work paper macheing (why can I never spell that?) over the card base.
It took a few days of layering and leaving to dry before it was sturdy enough but was starting to look pretty good. I ended up putting a small canopy type roof at one end to make it a bit more fun.
Finally onto the next phase - painting! We mixed up some dark browny/ greeny colour (pretty sludgy looking actually) and painted the outside of the boat, leaving about 3" all around the bottom.
Then Painted the bottom few inches blue all around before adding a splodge of white to the dish with blue paint and painting on some swirly waves, the white added to the effect of waves breaking around the boat.
I didn't want to pain the inside in case it came off on the children's clothes but it was a little rough from odd layers of paper so we coated the bottom with tissue paper, smoothed over with watered down PVA.
Next I took a rectangle of off cut fabric and asked the little ones what they would like on their flag and they decided on a smiley face so I painted that on with fabric paint before folding the flag around a cardboard tube and sticking with (yep you guessed it) PVA glue.
Knowing the children would want to play with the flag I took a wider cardboard tube, cut 1.5" slits around the tube at one end and folded back the sections which were then glues onto the ship. Once this was dry we were able to put the flag pole into this holder when they weren't playing with it.
To finish off we made a couple of pairs of toilet roll binoculars by sticking 2 look rolls together and covering with coloured paper.
It has been great fun so far, we have played pirates, ship wrecks, stormy seas and shark befriending (?!) as well as swimming from ship to Sofa Island and fishing dropped binoculars out of the sea. Little Mr loves the fact its not only big enough for them both to sit in but he can even lay down and pretend he is sleeping at sea.
While we were playing Little Mr pointed out my lack of tattoos and decided if I were to be a convincing pirate I needed one... Hmm not so sure that look suits me?!! We have since named the ship "The Ogre" which may be to do with it's colour. For a cardboard play this this did take a fair bit of time but trust me it's worth every bit of time spent on it to see what games they have been coming up with. Precious memories being made here :)