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A House is a Home

Young children take pride in home and family while creating miniature versions of the homes where they live.

  • Grade 1
    Grade 2
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. Prepare a bulletin board with pictures of many different types of homes. Include pictures of animals' homes as well as homes from around the world.
    2. Read "Building Our House" by Jonathan Bean, "A House is a Home for Me" by Mary Ann Hoberman, or some other book about home and family. If reading the Bean book, invite students to pay particular attention to the illustrations. In what ways do the children in the story contribute to the building of his family's house? Ask the students how they help out in their families.
    3. Talk about the different reasons people and animals have homes such as for shelter from the weather, protection from danger, for comfort, and for raising families....
    4. Ask students to think about the expression, "Home is where the heart is." What do they think that means? Does the size of a home matter? Could a home be a single room? What is the difference between a house and a home?
    5. Tell students they will have an opportunity to make miniature versions of their own homes or the homes they hope to create for their own children one day.
    6. Provide each student with a recycled manila file folder. Demonstrate how to hold their folded files vertically and cut off a section about five inches high. Then have them fold this in half again thus creating four equal sections representing the four sides of a house. Invite students to draw the front of a house on one section including some kind of roof line. Ask students to cut along the roof line but remind them not to cut along the sides of the house. When they unfold this they should have a rectangular drawing surface with four separate sections. One section will represent the front of the house. Invite them to decorate the other three sides of their homes. Finally, ask students to think about doors, windows, building materials (bricks? siding? wood?), shrubs, etc.
    7. Once the exteriors are complete, invite students to flip their projects over and decorate the insides of their homes. When finished, show students how to refold their paper projects and set them upright. Provide tape so they can fasten the two ends securely. In order to peek inside, suggest the cutting of doors and possibly a few windows so they will fold open.
    8. As students finish decorating their houses, some may wish to add other details such as a roof, a chimney, or a mailbox. When they are finished, encourage them to think about special times they have shared with their families in their homes. Jonathan Bean's family worked together to actually build their home. What are some things your students' families have done together? Provide time for each student to tell or write a story about a family memory.
  • Standards

    LA: Describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges.

    LA: Include multimedia components (e.g., graphics, sound) and visual displays in presentations when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or themes.

    MATH: Compose three-dimensional shapes (cubes, right rectangular prisms, right circular cones, and right circular cylinders) to create a composite shape, and compose new shapes from the composite.

    MATH: Partition circles and rectangles into two and four equal shares, describe the shares using the words halves, fourths, and quarters, and use the phrases half of, fourth of, and quarter of. Describe the whole as two of, or four of the shares. Understand for these examples that decomposing into more equal shares creates smaller shares.

    VA: Engage collaboratively in exploration and imaginative play with materials.

    VA: Create art that represents natural and constructed environments.

  • Adaptations

    Encourage children to bring in photos of their families if they wish to do so and display them beside their homes. Some students may even wish to create miniature "paper dolls" out of the photos and stand them inside their homes.

    If this project is done around the time of a special holiday, invite students to tell or write family stories associated with the holiday.

    Encourage children to work collaboratively to create communities with their homes. Will some be clustered together in towns? Will some be scattered further apart in the country?


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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