Last month, the girls and I read Look at that Building! and went on an Architectural Scavenger Hunt to connect the vocabulary in the book with the world around us. The story ends with the kids in the book designing and building their own dog house, a great architecture for kids project… and Big M (age 4), with a mind like a steel trap, has persistently asked me daily when we will build a dog house of our own. Mind you – we don’t have a dog. I think she’s living with a Field of Dreams, ‘if we build it, it will come!’ mentality. But I told her if she really wants to build one, she has to have a plan first… a blueprint for her dog house.
Architecture for Kids: Painting Blueprints
The girls’ fascination with architecture definitely began well over a year ago as we were building our own house. They suffered through my dragging them all over the state to meet with cabinet suppliers, pick out landscaping, choosing granite slabs, ordering furniture… and everywhere I went, I carried the giant roll of blueprints for the new house.
With Big M continued talk of building a dog house, I reminded her before you can build, you need a plan. To reinforce this idea, we re-read one of their favorite books, Let’s Build a Dog House!
It’s actually a Bubble Guppies double book featuring Let’s Build a Dog House, as well as a second story about a construction site.
Time to Paint Blueprints
With the need for a plan firmly established, I set out blue paint and some architectural ‘super shapes’ for creating the dog house blueprint.
Blue tempera paint
White craft paper
Pipe cleaners (for super shapes)
Foam blocks (optional)
Foam paint brush (optional)
Cost: Less than $5
Prep Time: Less than 5 minutes
Clean-Up Time: Less than 5 minutes
I made a triangle, an arch, and some straight pieces of various lengths out of pipe cleaners for Big M to use as stamps in creating her blueprint, and threw in a few foam blocks as well.
We used the sorting tray to hold the pieces so the paint didn’t go everywhere. She has lately gotten tired of my hovering during her ‘projects’ and dismissed me from the playroom!
She decided she didn’t like the stamps because it was making her fingers dirty, so she asked me for a brush to finish her ‘plan.’
When I returned a few minutes later, I asked where the dog house plan was…
She proceeded to tell me that these were the streets of our neighborhood, and in this corner, was Grandma and Grandpa’s house, and those two blue dots? Those are their two dogs’ houses. Turns out my little architect has more desire to be a civil engineer!
Why is it called a blueprint?
I had to look this up to satisfy my own curiosity, since our own home blueprints were not blue… as with many things, it dates back to old school processes for these things. Before the days of Xerox machines, reproductions of technical drawings were created using a print process on light-sensitive sheets. The original drawing made on translucent paper is laid on top of the light-sensitive sheets, which when exposed to the sun, turn blue leaving white lines reproducing the original drawing.
So I suppose we should have used white paint on blue paper! And despite the fact that this antiquated technique has long since been replaced by modern technology, the term blueprint continues to be used for technical drawings, and is synonymous with floor plans or plans.
Let’s Build Up!
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More Architecture for Kids, Blueprint Ideas
Looking for some more Architecture for Kids activities? You can find all the posts in our Architecture and Engineering for Kids series here. And here are some more fun ones from our favorite Kids Activity bloggers from around the web:
Geometric LEGO Blueprint | Handmade Kids Art
Building Block Blueprints | Teaching Preschool
You can find all of these and more on our STEM for Kids – Engineering board on Pinterest today!