Whether your kids were entranced by Little House on the Prairie or simply love to build things, this popsicle stick “log cabin” is a great introduction to pioneer history. What it lacks in authenticity it makes up in fun, and there’s no better incentive to learn than that (except having an excuse to eat 100 popsicles!).
Popsicle sticks – lots (save and wash used sticks, or buy new ones at craft stores)
A cardboard box
What You Do:
Most pioneers would have started with a dirt floor, but not your child. Make the floor by placing two popsicle sticks down vertically a few inches apart. Drizzle glue all over them. Now line up popsicle sticks horizontally on top. Don’t leave any space between sticks. Let dry.
When dry, begin making walls. Pioneers would have used whole logs (perhaps with the bark still on) and cut chinks in the corners to hold them in place, but you’ll stick with glue. Show your child how to put a dot of glue in the corner of each stick as you lay it in place. Place two sticks parallel to each other on opposite ends of the floor, then lie two sticks parallel to each other on the opposite side, so they are resting on top of the first layer.
If you want a door or windows, cut the middle few inches out of enough sticks to span the height of the cabin for a door, and a smaller number for a window.
Continue stacking sticks as in Step 2, using the trimmed sticks in one row and leaving the empty spot in the middle if including a window or door. Don’t worry about the sagging sticks – you’ll fix that later.
When the walls are high enough, make a roof. Cut two equilateral traingles of cardboard, with each side measuring the length of one popsicle stick. Glue a triangle to the top of the front and back walls.
Once dry, place popsicle sticks in horizontal lines across the two traingle roof pieces until you have made a pointed wooden roof. Trim popsicle sticks and glue upright on roof to make a chimney, if desired. Set aside to dry.
Don’t worry about the gaps between logs: pioneers had those too and used moss and grass “chinking” to keep the wind out. Tear the cotton and stuff it between the boards to make a warm and cozy cabin. Ma and Pa have nothing on your new cabin!