[Preservation Tips & Tools] How to Explore Architecture with Kids
Exploring architecture with kids from an early age can help foster their creativity and expose them to potential new hobbies and career paths. From building a play fort to hosting an architecture-themed birthday party, today’s toolkit will help give you some fun ideas about how to make architecture more understandable for kids. http://blog.preservationnation.org
Published on: Mar 4, 2016
Transcripts - [Preservation Tips & Tools] How to Explore Architecture with Kids
HOW TO EXPLORE
Take them on an architecture walk.
Take kids to places where they can engage with the built environment,
such as public parks, monuments, plazas, and buildings. Bring along
art supplies, like paper and crayons, so they have a creative outlet
during your exploration, and see if they want to draw a building or
make a rubbing of an architectural detail, pattern, or texture.
To further enhance the kids’
experience, do some quick
background research about the
architectural site or neighborhood
beforehand so you can talk to
them about their surroundings
and see what grabs their
Example: Washington Architectural
WAF’s Exploring Architecture with Kids walking tour series combines
neighborhood exploration with hands-on learning. Professional
architects lead tours of architecturally-rich neighborhoods in D.C.;
review basic architectural vocabulary with the kids; and oversee a
hands-on design project, such as designing a model row house.
Take advantage of youth and family
Many architecture-related museums and historically significant places
offer at least some programming aimed at kids. Take an inventory of
any museums and sites in your area that are related to architecture,
and check their website or call them to see if they offer kids programs.
The National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., has a special Kids
Zone where visitors ages 2-6 are encouraged to get hands-on with the
material. In this exploratory gallery, kids can build a tower or brick wall,
browse an architecture picture book, dress up in construction gear and drive
play trucks, and explore a custom-built “green” house.
Build a fort.
Encouraging kids to build play forts gives them a chance to design
and plan a space, learn through trial-and-error about constructing it,
and allow them to occupy and enjoy what they have created.
Purchasing special kits designed for fort-building allows for easy
assembly and clean-up.
Sample activities: creating a
building facade using collage
materials, designing a model
dream house, or building a
skyscraper out of Legos. A
“building” cake can also be an
unexpected treat after a day of
Sign them up for architecture camp.
Some museums and architecture institutions that already have
established student programming might have programs available for
younger children over the summer. These camps are a good way to
give kids a more in-depth understanding of architecture and hone
their creative skills.
The Summer@theCenter program at the Center for Architecture in
New York offers weeklong summer camps for students entering
grades 3-12. Topics range from designing tree houses and dream
apartments, to studying castles and creating architectural models.
The camp experience includes special site visits and walking tours.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America’s
historic places. Preservation Tips & Tools helps others do the same
in their own communities.
For more information, visit blog.preservationnation.org.
Special thanks to Tim Hayduk, Lead Design
Educator at the Center for Architecture Foundation
in New York City, for consultation.
Photo courtesy: [pg. 1, left to right] Vincent
Desjardins, Flickr; Dave King, Flickr; Center for
Architecture Foundation; [pg. 4] locket479, Flickr;
[pgs. 7-10] Center for Architecture Foundation.