Building a House

Preschooler building a house with household materials

This activity promotes development and learning by encouraging children to use imitation and symbolic representation in play.

Materials Needed:

  • Paper (could be copy paper, graph paper, or blueprint paper)
  • Pencils
  • Building materials, such as cardboard, cardboard tubes, craft sticks, tape, pompoms, fabric, bubble wrap, PVC pipe, boxes, glue, brown paper bags, etc. Use materials around the house and ask your child for creative ideas.

Participants: This activity is intended for independent play, adult/child interaction, or 2 or more participants/players.


  1. Think about your house. How was it built? What were the steps?
  2. Challenge your child to build a house using materials you have on hand. Offer paper and create a design or blueprint before you start building.
  3. Use the materials to build a house. What needs to happen first? How can you make it sturdy and strong? Depending on your child’s interest, you can make a small home, a house large enough to crawl in, or even a whole village. You can make furnishings or learn about what’s behind walls, e.g., insulation, electrical wires, and plumbing.

Extensions: Visit PBS (Click Here) for a simple structure engineering project.

Bright Horizons
About the Author
Bright Horizons
Bright Horizons
In 1986, our founders saw that child care was an enormous obstacle for working parents. On-site centers became one way we responded to help employees – and organizations -- work better. Today we offer child care, elder care, and help for education and careers -- tools used by more than 1,000 of the world’s top employers and that power many of the world's best brands
Preschooler building a house with household materials