Cardboard Box Dream House

Big exciting projects are often really simple , this cardboard box dream house is a kids craft anyone can make, and best of all it will get played with after too! We have officially given up nap ( can you hear me crying? ) and my little man is not one for ” Just go upstairs and play sweetie.” He needs a plan and last Friday our plan included making this super cool cardboard dream house after he read books quietly in bed, and played with his trains in his room. Having a big fun project was a great treat to do after he had alone time , which is not at all his nature and taking us some time to get used to.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a cardboard box, strong scissors, a marker, tape,  and crayons or markers and some toy people.
  2. Start by cutting the box into the shape you want. We made it into a house but you can make a castle, school, hospital…
  3. Next add whatever windows doors etc.. you want in marker . My son was not into this at all, he was like ” Make a few windows mom.”
  4. Color! He was MUCH more into this. I couldn’t get a good picture because he was coloring so quickly, and pressing so hard we broke every crayon we used. It was awesome!
  5. While they color ask them what furniture they want. If they are old enough have them make it themselves. For little guys I find if you make furniture you end up with better play than a plain box. It definitely sparked good imaginative play for us.
  6. Color the furniture .
  7. Cut out and add tape to the back. Stick the furniture to the walls.
  8. Play!

    Yes this guy is blogging. It's a common theme with our pretend play.

Books

A House for Hermit Crab by Eric Carle is a book I have owned for many years. It offers so many learning opportunities for young readers and doesn’t loose any of the entertainment in trying to hard to teach. The hermit crab feels drab and each month he asks different sea creatures to help decorate his shell . As the shell is getting more and more beautiful it’s also getting more and more snug and almost time for the hermit crab to leave it behind and find a bigger one.  The book teaches about sea creatures, months of the year and moving. More than moving it teaches about change . Change is  difficult for all of us but a little trickier for most preschoolers which makes this book so valuable .

How a House Is Built by Gail Gibbons. In this book  readers are taken from the architect’s desk to the day the family moves in with just the right amount of detail about all the intermediate steps. Each worker and what they contribute to building a house is explained briefly, from the laying of the foundation, the carpenters who frame the house and even the landscapers who lay the sod. If you have a little builder in your house they will love reading about the steps and many people who help build a house.

Eek! There’s A Mouse in the House by Wong Herbert Yee is a silly book with wonderful rhymes and engaging pictures. In other words it’s a great kids book. In it a mouse gets in the house and to fix it a little girl sends in larger and larger animals until all reason is thrown out the window and an elephant shows up.  My son while protesting me reading him a board book ( it’s for babies he said) couldn’t help but giggle at how silly this book was and was rhyming a long. I think this would make a wonderful book to read to a baby and toddler or preschooler pair, the rhythm of the book will delight a baby and toddlers on up will laugh and rhyme while you read it.

Be an Architect !

Blueprint Project

Blueprint craft 009I had the idea for this ages ago but knew that my son wasn’t ready for it. I am so glad I waited. We have been taking him to open houses lately, and talking about how houses are built , floor plans etc.. for a few weeks so this was the perfect time to become architects ourselves and make some blue prints! I helped a lot with this craft but older children ( 5 +) would have no problem doing it independently. Toddlers would likely get frustrated, so here is a great alternative for them Shape House.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a white wax crayon ( yellow will do in a pinch), some white paper, blue paint and some sponge brushes or rollers. The sponge brushes really ensure that there isn’t too much paint which makes all the difference!Blueprint craft
  2. Start by drawing your house with the white crayon, pressing hard. My son wanted me to draw the “real picture of the house” meaning the outside , I made him a deal that if I did the outside he’d have to do the inside.Blueprint craft
  3. For the inside if your child is like mine and still too young to make things exactly how they want them but old enough to get upset if they aren’t perfect help them make the floor plan. How we did it was I  put one finger at the starting pint of each wall, and one at the end point and he drew the lines. He eventually felt confident enough to do a few all by himself.Blueprint craft
  4. Next decide which rooms should be which- this was probably my son’s favorite part ( well until he started painting), he went on and on about if they needed a bedroom more than a garage. Bedroom won out, maybe our next house will have a garage !
  5. Label them.Blueprint craft
  6. Time to paint. I thinned the paint just a tiny bit with water.
  7. Roll it on!Blueprint craft
  8. Sometimes you need to blot with these types of paintings if the paint glops on too heavy, we didn’t this time but grab a paper towel if you do and gently wipe.
  9. Let dry. Grab some lego or other blocks and build the house :) Blueprint craft

Song

This is the way we pound our nails,
pound our nails, pound our nails,
This is the way we pound our nails, so early in the morning.
This is the way we turn the screw,
Turn the screw, turn the screw
This is the way we turn the screw, so early in the morning.
This is the way we saw the wood
saw the wood, saw the wood,
This is the way we saw the wood, so early in the morning!
This is the way we build a house,
build a house, build a house.
This is the way we build a house so early in the morning!

Books

Building A House

Building a House by Byron Barton is a no frills look at how homes are built. The bright colors and concise wording is perfect for toddlers and young  preschoolers. I love that there is writing on one page and illustrations on the other, makes it super easy to show children the pictures as well as for them to see you follow the text with your finger! My son started enjoying this book well before age 2 and still grabs it for me to read at three and a half although seems to yearn for more details than this simple book provides.
Building by Elisha Cooper

Building by Elisha Cooper is a really stunning book. The story itself is really detailed and although he sat for the whole thing my son’s attention was thinning out at parts, I edited the text a little but we got through it. There is nothing wrong with this book, its just too long and detailed for the average 3 year old. A keen 4 year old or 5 year old would totally dig it though.  The illustrations are watercolors and so beautiful, but are not detailed like the text. Visually they are beautiful, but my son wanted to know why no one had faces.  If you are learning about or interested in the process of construction from start to finish this is a wonderful book to read.
How a House Is Built
How a House Is Built by Gail Gibbons is the happy medium for my son of these two other books, while one was a little too simple, the other a little too detailed, this one was just right for his attention span and need for details. In this book  readers are taken from the architect’s desk to the day the family moves in with just the right amount of detail about all the intermediate steps. Each worker and what they contribute to building a house is explained briefly, from the laying of the foundation, the carpenters who frame the house and even the landscapers who lay the sod. If you have a little builder in your house they will love reading about the steps and many people who help build a house.