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It can be one of our biggest challenges! Fortunately, there are some really great craft and art ideas out there that might help you draw your kids away, and I think this one has a pretty good chance of succeeding!
A house like this can be made using any large cardboard box, a pair of scissors, and a little extra time. If you don't have a vision for how to cut the box down to transform it into a roofed house, there are plenty of tutorials on the internet.
I chose to just start with a cardboard pet carrier. These can be purchased online and at some pet stores for a few dollars, and because they are made for transporting precious cargo, these are really sturdy boxes. That translates to a really sturdy toy!
Simply unfold the top of the box and lean the tops of the flaps toward one another to form a roof peak. Use a heavy duty tape to hold them together.
Using a Fiskars Fingertip Detail Knife, cut a large opening on one end of the house to be used as a door. An opening could instead be cut out of one long side of the box to allow easy access to the inside of the box for staging purposes during play.
The box can be painted or it can be covered with "siding." I used a stash of old patterned paper, but any type of paper could be used. Giftwrap or construction paper are good options. Using the Fiskars ProCision rotary bypass trimmer, cut the paper into 3 inch x 4 inch rectangles. Using glue, begin placing the shingles on the house, taking care to overlap the bottom of a new row over the top of the row below. Add doors and windows to the house as desired.
To create the roof shingles, use the circle die and the Fuse, to cut a lot of circles from your choice paper. Cut these circles in half.
Starting along the bottom edge of the roof, begin gluing the 1/2 circles to the roof. When moving to the next row, take care to overlap the shingles as shown in the photo.
After all the paper shapes have been adhered, decorative trims made using Fiskars Border Punches can be added to hide any gaps or uneven lines.
The flaps on the ends of the box that once interlocked with the other flaps to create the carrier closure can now be folded over toward the inside of the box. A piece of fabric covered cardboard can then be slipped inside that opening to create an attic floor. This area can be used for attic storage.
The finished pet house is now ready for a resident, a favorite stuffed animal.
If you're lucky enough to own a playful real cat, your child may experience the joy of watching it take up residence in the new house!
Cardboard pet carrier or other cardboard box
papers for covering box
decorative elements as desired