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Architecture for Kids!

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Free Printable Activity from VELD architect!! A book house

Want a great activity to keep your kids busy while they learn a bit about architecture?! VELD architect has a free printable for you! What kid doesn’t love to arrange furniture colour walls, decorate rooms, and create a mini house, museum, aquarium, store, etc! Wherever their imaginations take them! I would suggest starting the activity by watching the book “If I built a House” read on you-tube. Its a great book about the wonderful things your creativity can think of in architecture.

The lesson

Architects design many kinds of buildings from big landmarks buildings like churches, to schools, and even houses. They design the spaces by arranging furniture, thinking about how people live and work, and of course what a building should look like. Architects are able to visualize both the interior and exterior of rooms and buildings using their imagination, and 3D computer programs. Architects are also responsible for safety in buildings, how buildings are built, energy use, and many other things. Architects train for almost as long as doctors to become good at their job. They have to know a lot about many different subjects and have good creative problem solving skills to design good buildings.

An Architects main job is to create a set of drawings that visually shows what a building looks like and how it should be built. These drawings are called Orthographic projections. Here is an example of some orthographic project drawings of a house.

An orthographic projection is a way to show a 3D object by its 2D sides. For example a 3D box can be described by drawing each side, (top, front, back, and sides) individually. This is the same for a building. A drawing is created for each side of the building, as well as the top or roof! 

The sides of the box or building are called Elevations. Elevations are drawings of the vertical walls or side of a building. A chair shown in elevation would look like this. It also has a front view and a side view.

If we look at the top of a building we see the roof, but more importantly are what the inside rooms look like. These top looking down drawings are called floor plans. Imagine you took a box and cut it in half, or opened it up, and looked inside it from above. You would see the inside bottom of the box, this is like taking the roof off the building and looking at the floor and the different rooms inside. Things look a bit strange when you draw them in Floor plan view as we don’t normally see life this way, unless you are a bird! This is what a chair looks like from the top.

Architects use 2D drawings to show how buildings are built, but we also use 3D models. Sometimes with a computer program that shows us what the building will look like in real life. Sometimes we also build real physical models like you can do today with the kit provided! Models help our clients and non-architects visualize what different rooms or spaces will look like. Sometimes we even use 3D virtual reality to walk our clients through our digital computer models!

Buildings are very big but paper and drawings are much smaller, so how do architects fit whole buildings onto small paper??Architects draw at a smaller scale. That means that we pretend that objects are smaller to draw them, and we make all objects smaller by the same amount. Like we had a shrink ray! The furniture and the craft included is at a scale of 1:30. That means that for every 1cm on the drawing or model in this case it is the same as 30cm in real life. 

Lets check the scale of your house model. Measure how long the bed is on the drawings you printed? Now multiply that by 30 (get an adult to help you with this if you need. Now go measure your own bed…how many centimeters long is it?  Are they similar? That is how drawing to scale works. If you want to draw some furniture in your house model, measure the object in real life, then divide by 30. That will be how many centimetres you need to draw that furniture in your model.

Architects use their imaginations to create beautiful buildings and houses. I suggest you read “If I built a house” by Chris VanDusen for some inspiration (there are also a few you-tube videos of this book). What would you build if you built a house? Get started on your house model and send me your pictures when you are done!

Book house, complete with pitched roof cover

What does the printable include:

  • a short lesson about architecture
  • a couple quick exercises to do with your kids to help them understand a bit about architecture and give them some context to the activity
  • step by step instructions with pictures on how to assemble the book
  • two sheets of scaled furniture to colour and cut out, in both elevations and plan

Please share your kids designs. I’d love to see their spaces!!! email me at or comment below!

Here are some other architecture crafts and activities for kids!

free printable to color and then fold up and glue into mini houses. Both modern and traditional designs. Create a whole neighborhood!
simple materials, use up all those toilet paper tubes you have stocked up for COVID-19!
You can also use noodles and marshmellows, or skewers and playdough, or any combination!

For those who don’t mind a bit of mess. Lego block stamping

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