- Cardboard boxes and containers
- Crayons, markers, paint, paintbrushes, and collage materials
- Butcher paper
- Construction paper, craft sticks, clay and play dough
Children will learn about their neighborhood as they work together to construct a town.
Collect a variety of cardboard containers such as. milk cartons, shoe boxes, cereal boxes, and so on.
1. Tell children that they can work together to make a town. Ask children to list the different kinds of buildings they want to include in their town. Help each child select the building he or she wants to make.
2. Let children choose boxes and containers to use to construct 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 them use scissors to cut out windows and doors if they wish to.
3. 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 play dough or clay as bases for trees or street signs (which they can make by gluing strips of construction paper or small paper squares to craft sticks).
4. Help children glue the buildings to the paper and place them along the painted street. Label each building and write 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 create illustrations. Display the comments and drawings near the town.
These books help children discover the many people, places, and things in a community.
- The Inside-Outside Book of New York City by Roxie Munro
- On the Go by Ann Morris
- Roxaboxen by Alice McLerran
This activity originally appeared in the March, 1998 issue of Early Childhood Today.