Lately N. and I have been making lots of cardboard structures as impromptu weekend projects. He gets an idea, and I try to help him create it, and then the ideas morph and multiply. This weekend, inspired by the Olympics, he wanted to make a skating rink for Violet, one of his Barbies. His starting idea was putting a sheet of waxed paper on a cardboard box; then he wanted stairs, then railings, then we decided to take the whole thing outside to paint it.
We also made Violet some paper-clip ice skates.
January weekends were dominated by The Dollhouse Renovation Project. N. has never played much with the dollhouse, but he suddenly he decided to convert the basement to "an addition." This led to creating a bathroom, fireplace, windows, interior walls, a front door, fenced yard, gates, roof and roof embellishments with carboard and blocks. One day we made stained glass windows from crayon shavings melted between wax paper.
In December we made some paper dolls and a stage. This started as a two-dimensional drawing I made, just doodling around while N. did his own drawings. N, thought my drawing looked like a stage, so we cut it up and mounted it on cardboard. Then we had the idea to make a man and woman to perform on the stage; they turned into a family when N. asked for a little boy!
I like it that these projects are driven primarily by N.'s ideas, with occasional suggestions from me. I could never plan stuff like this! And if I did, the projects would likely go in another direction from my plan anyway, which might frustrate me. I like making things, so it has taken some discipline and practice on my part to hang back, to facilitate and collaborate without dominating. It is so rewarding to help N. give shape to the visions in his head.