Because my son is showing less and less interest in all the fancy toys we buy him, cardboard play sets seem like a great alternative. Similar (albeit sturdier) play sets sell for upwards of sixty dollars. But why pay money for a play set that will only be put away in storage when, with a little effort on our part and some father-son time, we can build our own?
Our little cardboard city already has a parking garage, a fire truck, a semi-trailer, and people. Now they needed a home. Enter Capital City, a three-dimensional town complete with roads, multistory buildings, and traffic stops.
To begin with, we just printed out a street. I let my son pick the features he wanted on the street (he likes garbage and manhole covers). I skipped the chalk outlines of dead bodies though.
The street is really a loop so it's not quite as interesting as I'd like it to be, but it's large enough to fit under our entertainment center, which is by far its most important attribute. And of course if any piece gets ruined we can print more.
I connected each piece with clear masking tape so that it's durable, and also sealed the interior and exterior edges. So far it's held up well.
The buildings are superb. I began reinforcing the buildings with cereal box cardboard. Of course, my son expects all doors to open, so that takes a little paper surgery. I also put in an office floor so you can actually play inside the building.
I never attached the roof, essentially creating a box for him to contain the other paper miniatures. The only problem is the roof isn't really meant to be removed and attached over and over so it's starting to bend. I may have to reinforce the next building we create.
Each weekend I build one building for my son. We haven't even gotten to all the accessories yet, but we're looking forward to building out the entire city…or until we run out of room in the house.