Introduction to Architectural Model Making: Plans + Elevations = 3D Model

Welcome to Design in Play!

This “architecture” project seems like a great first post for using “design in play.”  This was a favorite activity in my architecture lesson series for young students ranging from 6-8 years old.  With a bit of assistance, children as young as preschoolers can create their own tiny house model.

Introduction to Architectural Model Making:  Plans + Elevations = 3D Model!

Tiny House Steps

This is a fun little project that combines 2D and 3D design, as well as basic math skills.  The Tiny House Model Template and the Tiny House Drawings are attached for your young model-maker’s use.  For best results, print the template on card stock.

Starting with a 2-dimensional drawing, early learners apply drawing, coloring, cutting, pin-punching, and folding skills to design a simple house.  Using the Tiny House Drawings as a reference, children can customize the exterior walls or “elevations” of their building.  After cutting and optional pin-punching (using a push pin to cut out windows), fold and connect walls as shown using the dashed tab.  For young learners, this step clearly shows the transition from a flat 2D drawing to a 3D model.

Once the four walls are complete, it’s time to determine the area were “roofing materials” are required.  By using a ruler to measure the length of the walls and slope of the roof, children can practice (or get an introduction to) basic measuring skills.  Then, using addition and (optional) multiplication, young model-makers can calculate the full size of the construction paper roof needed to complete their “house.”  (Some guidance may be required to get this part started for younger children.)  First measure the length and the slope (or width), then multiply for the area of one side; then multiply this by two for the full roof.  To provide a roof overhang (and allow for easier assembly), add another 1/4″ in both directions before cutting out the final rectangular shape.  Once the roof is cut out, fold down the middle and apply glue (to the folded tabs provided on the wall template) to assemble your customized Tiny House Model.


Looking for more creative building projects?  Check out the architecture and engineering activities for young designers shown below!

Structures Preview.jpg

For more entertaining and engaging building activities that test the strength of geometric shapes (preview images above), see the following posts:


And, you can’t go wrong with these great Architecture and Construction Storybooks.

Book Covers

Happy Building!


5 thoughts on “Introduction to Architectural Model Making: Plans + Elevations = 3D Model

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