Build an Architectural School Model Activity

3.4 based on 171 ratings
Updated on Oct 18, 2012

Architects help to design the modern world around us. Get back into school with an exciting architecture exploration! Your child can research, draw, and build his own school out of reused cardboard and plastic products, with a little bit of paint added for decoration.

This activity will encourage your child to practice math skills such as measuring, spatial awareness, adding and subtracting, and geometry while learning about basic architecture concepts such as form and function. Create small scale models or build as big as you can to transform plain paper and boxes into school-inspired architectural marvels!

What You Need:

  • Cardboard boxes (The type used will vary based on size desired. Try shoe, cereal, or cracker boxes for smaller buildings, and moving boxes for larger constructions. Additionally, your child may want a selection of different sized boxes to add specific structures)
  • Sturdy tape
  • Cardboard tubes (reused from paper towel rolls)
  • Reused washed plastic bottles
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Tempera paints and brushes
  • Markers
  • Pencil
  • Construction or drawing paper
  • Ruler

What You Do:

  1. Ask your child to first create a drawing or blueprint of his school. Encourage him to use the ruler for accuracy of line and measurement. For example, if one side of the building is six inches long in the drawing, ask him to measure the other side while drawing it to six inches.
  2. Search the house for cardboard and plastic items to reuse for the model. Make sure to completely wash all items. Do not use items that held meat or similar products.
  3. Help your child to construct his architectural school model from the blueprint drawing. Combine a variety of boxes, tubes, and plastic items with glue and/or tape. Look for items that are reminiscent of shapes found on the actual buildings. A cardboard tube may look like a chimney or a shoe box may resemble a small addition.
  4. Once the construction is finished have your child draw specific features such as doors and windows.
  5. Your child can now use the tempera paints to add color to the building!

Try adding in some new vocabulary words with this activity. For some children the word "architecture" may be new. Other art and architecture based words to include are form, column, arch, dome, post and lintel, three dimensional, and pediment.

Erica Loop has a MS in Applied Developmental Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education. She has many years of teaching experience working in early childhood education, and as an arts educator at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh.

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