As both an Architect and a Mother, I enjoy exploring the Science of Architecture with my young children. Architecture involves understanding numerous shapes and knowing how they are used to create buildings and spaces. Since children start learning their basic shapes and colors around the age of two, it is a great opportunity for parents and children to explore shapes and architecture together.
I especially enjoy those experiences where my child is under no pressure to “learn” although that is exactly what is happening. By playing together, I begin to understand how he thinks and learns and we have a wonderful time exploring the shapes in our world. Here are a few architecture activities that are fun to try at home:
- A great way to teach your child about shapes is as simple as sitting together on a sofa and looking around the room. Help your child identify the various shapes of books, interior decorations, pictures on the wall, the shapes of the snacks as you eat them, and the shape of your cup or juice box.
- Download and print the “Shapes and Their Names” (PDF) and color them with your child. As you color the shapes, identify the name of the shape, along with the color being used.
- Cut out your shapes. Now, you and your child can create a house by using squares, rectangles, triangles and circles. Let your child's imagination be your guide. Ask your child to tell you about the house they have built. Who lives in it? Is it big or small? What room is your favorite room in the house? Keep the conversation going and you will be amazed at where you will end up.
- Let your child create a drawing/design of a house by using the blank house outline (PDF). Add doors, windows and other details to create their dream house.
- Gather up some wooden blocks of various shapes. Sit down with your child and build a house. You can start with a square and a triangle. Then build a bigger house. Build your neighborhood or your city. You can even use cardboard boxes, shoe boxes, hat boxes, oatmeal boxes, etc. to build larger and more detailed buildings.
- Go for a “Shape Walk” and look for shapes in the houses and buildings you see. Look for Squares, Rectangles, Triangles, Circles, Semi-Circles. When you get home, use sidewalk chalk to draw some of the shapes you saw.
Check out these other great resources:
Architecture Shapes, Michael J. Crosbie
Shapes, Shapes, Shapes, Tana Hoban
Article by Kathryn Mack Barry, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, HKS Inc.