We plan on taking a vacation to Europe next year and visit our family in Romania. Grandparents have come over to the US several times but the rest of the family hasn’t even seen our kids. I know, it’s kinda sad, but that’s the way it is when you live so far away from home. We make plans and dream about it on our good days but then, there are also the bad days, when the kids’ tantrums remind us of how traveling with them can be so nerve wracking that we can’t even imagine going through 3 flights with these two energetic little boys.
I’m thrilled at the idea of going back to Romania to see my family and friends, which I haven’t seen in 6 years! but I also tell my husband that I want to take a short trip to another European country. I lived in Belgium for a couple of years before moving to Minnesota and miss it so much but I lean more towards visiting Paris. It can be because France is the first foreign country I introduced my preschooler to: we read books, played with landmark toys, listened to French music, watched movies that take place in Paris (like the Hunchback of Notre Dame) and he is absolutely fascinated by the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe. Every antenna we see it’s an Eiffel Tower and, being the elevator lover that he is, I know that going up and down the Eiffel Tower will be the ultimate elevator experience for him.
We had this big collection of boxes in our garage since we moved in our new home, three years ago. I planned on using them for indoor activities with kids but winter went by without me touching any. When I finally started to turn them into fun toys for my boys and created a waterproof cardboard car wash, my husband decided it was time to make room in the garage and threw them all away, except for one. A big box!
The idea of turning the box into the Arc de Triomphe came to me after coming across the City Paper Paris by Made by Joel. Several French monuments and people, drawn by Joel, that are available to download for free. Using his Arc de Trimphe as a model makes it easy for anyone to draw, even a non-artistic person. It is detailed enough to resemble the real thing but not too detailed as to make it hard to follow.
Here are all the steps I took to create this cardboard Arc de Triomphe.
Step 1. Cut the opening on both side of the box.
Step 2. Paint the box white or any other color of your choice but it should be a light one.
Step 3. Print out the Arc de Triomphe and draw it on your box. If you feel confident you can do it directly with a permanent marker. I did it in a pencil first and then used a Sharpie, actually I needed 3 markers to finish up the job.
I only did one side of the box and wrote the word PARIS on the other side.
Enjoy a ride under the cardboard Arc de Triomphe!