- Learn about their neighborhood
- Practice teamwork skills
- Empty cardboard boxes and containers (milk cartons, shoe boxes, cereal boxes, coffee canisters, etc)
- Crayons, markers, paint, and collage materials
- Butcher paper
- Construction paper
- Craft sticks
- Optional: Clay or playdough
Set Up and Prepare
- Collect a variety of empty containers such as milk cartons, shoe boxes, cereal boxes, and so on. You may consider asking parents to donate their empty containers.
- Send a note home with a permission slip for a class walk around the neighborhood and a request for volunteer chaperones
Step 1: Take a walk in the neighborhood with children. Talk together about all the types of buildings they see — stores, houses, apartment buildings, a police station, a post office, a school, farm buildings, and so on. Write down children's comments.
Step 2: Tell children that they can work together to make a town. Ask children to list the different buildings they want to include in their town, reminding them of the things they saw on their walk. Help each child pick the building he or she wants to make.
Step 3: Let children choose boxes and containers to use to make their buildings. They can work individually or with partners. Help them think about what the buildings they're making might look like. Then encourage children to decorate the containers with crayons, markers, paint, or collage materials. Help children use scissors to cut out windows and doors if they wish.
Step 4: Place a large sheet of butcher paper on the floor. Guide children to work together to draw or paint a street on the paper. Encourage them to suggest other things to add to the town — they can paint a river and then glue craft sticks over part of it to make a bridge or use green paint to add a park. Children can also use playdough or clay as bases for trees or street signs (which they can make by gluing strips of green construction paper or small paper squares to craft sticks).
Step 5: Help children glue the buildings to the paper, placing them along the painted street. Label each building, writing what it is and any comments the child who made it wants to add.
Write a story about life in the box town. Ask children who might live in the town. What might they do? Where would they go? Write down children's comments, and invite them to make illustrations. Display the comments and drawings near the town.