Building a Strong House 

In this lesson, children will design and build a strong house that will not be “blown away” 

Content Area:

Learning Goals:

This lesson will help toddlers and preschoolers meet the following educational standards:

  • Develop beginning skills in the use of science and engineering practices, such as observing, asking questions, solving problems, and drawing conclusions.
  • Develop and use models to represent their ideas, observations, and explanations through approaches such as drawing, building, or modeling with clay.

Learning Targets:

After this lesson, toddlers and preschoolers should be more proficient at:

  • Expressing wonder and curiosity about their world by asking questions, solving problems and designing things
  • Developing and using models to represent their ideas, observations and explanations through approaches such as drawing, building or modeling with clay
toddler with sunflower

Building a Strong House 

Lesson plan for toddlers/preschoolers

Step 1: Gather materials.

  • Paper 
  • Pencils
  • Assorted materials for building (popsicle sticks, straws, tape, legos)
  • Fan
  • Book: Three Little Pig

Note: Small parts pose a choking hazard and are not appropriate for children age five or under. Be sure to choose lesson materials that meet safety requirements.

Step 2: Introduce activity.

  1. In large group, ask children to share what they know about building houses
  2. After children have shared, read the book “The Three Little Pigs”
  3. Ask children to recall what materials the pigs used to build their houses and what happened when the big bad wolf came around.
  4. Ask children why they think the house of bricks was not blown away. 
  5. Discuss possibilities of why the house was not blown away (strong base, materials used, how much of the material was used, etc)
  6. Explain to children that now it will be their turn to design and build a house that cannot be “blown away”.

Step 3: Engage children in lesson activities.

  1. In small groups, invite children to design and draw their house that they can build with assorted materials.
  2. Ask children to think about the materials they want to use to build their house and to incorporate them into their drawing.
  3. After the children draw their house, invite them to start building their house using the assorted materials (popsicle sticks, straws, legos, etc).
  4. As the children are building, ask if their house looks like their original design and if different, why did they choose to build it different?
  5. After the children are done building, ask them to predict if they think their house will be blown away or stand up to the big bad wolf (fan)?
  6. Bring fan out and test if it will blow away the houses.
  7. After all the houses have been tested, discuss and analyze why some of the houses stood strong or got blown away.
  8. Invite children to re-design their house and build with other materials so they can keep investigating.

Step 4: Vocabulary.

  • Predict: To guess what might happen next
  • Design: To create a plan for something that will be built
  • Test: To try out an idea to see if it works or not
  • Conclude: To make statements about what was learned after an observation or experiment
  • Analyze: To examine information in order to make conclusions
  • Base: The part of a building that sits on the ground

Early Science Glossary

Step 5: Adapt lesson for toddlers or preschoolers.

Adapt Lesson for Toddlers
Toddlers may:
  • Not be able to draw a design of their house before building 
  • Not be able to build as precise using some materials (straws, popsicle sticks, tape)
Child care providers may:
  • Skip the drawing component and go straight to building
  • Only supply legos (or other types of blocks) 
Adapt Lesson for Preschoolers
Preschoolers may:
  • Want to use recycled materials to build a house with  
  • Want to work together as a team and test out the houses in teams 
Child care providers may:
  • Provide other materials to build with (cardboard, tubes, blocks)
  • Provide heavier materials to build with 

Suggested Books

  • Building a House By: Byron Barton
  • How a House Is Built By: Gail Gibbons
  • If I Built a House By: Chris Van Dusen

Music and Movement

  • Song” “This is the way we build a house” and encourage children to act out movements of each step of building a house   

Outdoor Connections

  • Go on a neighborhood walk to compare the different houses and buildings in the neighborhood 

Web Resources

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