McDashtown | An Imaginary Town

After months of saving boxes from the recycling bin, the kids set to work on building their own towns and implementing city elements they were learning about.  We started with a 7×7′ piece of brown craft paper, and then spent the following few weeks building from the ground up.

Welcome to McDashtown!  First my son decided he wanted a downtown configured around a pedestrian promenade.  McDashtown is also situated on the banks of a lake, where there are walking paths and an entertainment district.

A fountain sits in front of his art museum, and he even drew on “light scoops” on the roof just like Renzo Piano’s wing at the High Museum.

And the boy loves a good cantilever and buildings that span a roadway.

Crazy Cat Lady even lives in McDashtown, in the top left corner:

Do you see the tiny bell in the church tower?

The factory doors accommodate people, dogs, cats, and ants–how thoughtful.

The boy measured all his buildings and figured the area of all his city blocks.  The tallest point in McDashtown is the Hilton McDashtown, at 42″ tall.

You are welcome to book a room, but–as you can see by the flags they fly outside–your pets should be left at home.

A travel brochure could read:  Spend relaxing days boating on the lake!

Dare to thrill and scream on the Cheerios rollercoaster!

Gather for a family-friendly parade downtown!

But the truth is, McDashtown’s days were numbered from the first brick laid.  And it wasn’t even the threat of man-eating dinosaurs that would destroy a metropolis of this sort–although they came and terrorized one weekend.

Nope, the demise of McDashtown was chosen by its creator.  From the beginning the kids knew that their towns would be destroyed by summer’s end–and it was up to them to choose the natural disaster to cause the destruction.  My son chose a tornado.  And one fateful day in August, the sky turned dark.

Since most of the inhabitants of McDashtown were animals, their sixth sense kicked in and told them to get the heck out of Dodge; and so the evacuation route clogged with those escaping impending doom.

And then the F5 whirled like a demon through McDashtown.

Within minutes, the town was leveled like a war zone.

Emergency crews labored tirelessly looking for survivors in what was once the bustling city of McDashtown.

Unfortunately, as it is in moments like these of fragile vulnerability, the (buxom and sparkly) looters plundered what they could get their fixed-positioned hands on.  Special forces moved in to stop (and possibly woo) the vandals.

The ending of this destroyed city is bittersweet.  Even while all is lost, the community banded together in the clean up effort and committed to putting all the waste in the recycling bin for responsible waste management.

When it was all said and done, my son looked at me and asked, “Can we build another city?”  How sweet–but after wrapping enough boxes for 1000 Christmases, I am ready to move on to another project!


This post is dedicated to my friend Rachael, who upon hearing about our city project, drove herself to Target immediately and filled a box with all sorts of goodies for the destruction and shipped it to us.  Love you!


  1. I’ve got dibs on the cone penthouses, one for me and my Frenchman, and one for the children with smelly feet and noxious hairspray.

    I loved those good old homeschooling days! My children loved doing that stuff and remember every bit of it. I love our current stage too. Rich lives our children are living!

  2. Renae says:

    Wow….what an amazing undertaking! Love the creativity! Now…what’s next?

  3. Cristal says:

    Wow, that was a lot of work!! It looked incredible! Good job!

  4. Truly speechless. What a great lesson!

  5. this post was worth every single second. I laughed. I cried!
    Angela, you are just too stinkin cool.

    and your son makes a mighty fine tornado. I am sure you could have attested to that before this.

    awesome. just awesome.

    {tell the boy that my favorite was the evacuation, and that he has mad building skills}

  6. Dinosaurs and Waffles would make a great restaurant theme, has it been done?

  7. Why didn’t I do projects this cool when I was in school? Love it Angela!

  8. Donna Aitken says:

    I too am speechless! That was so nice of Rachel to send all those helpful items. I was wondering how you had all of that. What a team!

  9. haha, that is AWESOME. you know I love the crazy cat lady the most – thought the animals on the rollercoaster may be a close second…

  10. Utterly amazing!! I LOVE this! What a cool homeschooling mama you are. And what a great city builder your son is! Filing this away for a future homeschool project.

  11. Karen Tyner says:

    You guys are something else! That was an amazing project-and so many lessons/skills involved and a wonderfully creative way to make it all come down. Kudos to the all the participants!

  12. cheryl d says:

    You never cease to amaze me. Ashton was a great tornado, he made me want to take cover!

  13. grandpa says:

    Hey Ashton, that was pretty cool. Looks like that took alot of work to build the whole town. You made a mean looking tornado, you’d scare me! See you in a few weeks.

  14. You are totally amazing- I’m blown away by this…the having the kids come up with a natural disaster part…just brilliant. I’m seriously very inspired and also feeling VERY guilty that my little guy is sitting watching TV as I type this!

  15. Peggy says:

    Absolutely amazing! A lot of thought and work went into that and he did a great job! Since the destruction was made into a fun game, he probably didn’t mind crushing all his hard work. I’m impressed. I’d love to have that handsome tornado.

  16. That is awesome. My son likes to build buildings out of stuff from the recycling bin….but we’ve never had a natural disaster hit. I love that he wore makeup and dressed in tornado-y colors and everything. That’s impressive.

  17. holy ballfire!

    that is so amazing and so inspiring. i swear to you by the powers of grayskull i am going to attempt this with my daughter.

  18. I am so in love with this idea! I home school my two girls and I want to be like you! As I was looking at it I was thinking about what you would do with it when it was over because my kids would never want to take it down, but I see you thought of that, too. And very cleverly I might add. Great job!

  19. That was so awesome!

  20. You are a genius. This is so cool. WOW!!!

  21. That looks like so much fun! Was this in the garage all summer? I can’t imagine finding the space to create and house something like this!!!

  22. holy canoli! that is one awesome city! bravo to you & ashton and the kiddos! such attention to detail – loved ALL of it! My favorites were the waffle house, ant door, & roller coaster. totally awesome! I think you’ve got a budding architect on your hands 🙂

  23. That was incredible!! One of those childhood memories he will cherish forever.. you are a super Mom!

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