8 Essential Activities for Any Architecture Center

Last year, I piloted an architecture choice unit with my third-grade students. One of the biggest takeaways from this experience was that my students LOVE to build things! Because of this, I’ve made more architecture and engineering activities available to them. I make a few of these items available for free choice when we near the end of a project. Below I’ve listed my students’ favorites!

legos, kava planks and cardboard sculpture pieces

  1. Keva Planks – Students cannot get enough of these sets. They go especially wild for the contraptions set.
  2. Legos – The building possibilities are endless. Providing the green flats is helpful.
  3. Cardboard Connectors – I made my own. These abstract sculptures get really fun and elaborate.
  4. Styrofoam or Plastic Cups – Give your students a 100 cup challenge! They must use all 100 cups to create an architectural masterpiece.

architecture magnets, architecture books

  1. Architecture Magnets – I put these on the front of my metal desk, so they are always available for early finishers and busy hands.
  2. Graph Paper – These are great for your budding interior designers and planners. I encourage my students to create their dream rooms from a bird’s eye view. Mazes are another favorite.
  3. Supplies for Paper Cubes – Students love creating and then building with these colorful cubes.
  4. Books about Architecture and Engineering – My two favorite books by Andrea Beaty are Iggy Peck Architect and Rosie Revere Engineer. You also can’t go wrong by making these books available to your students. Don’t forget to hit up your local library for their architecture selection.

Students will definitely gravitate toward their favorites, so you may have to come up with some sort of time allowance or set rotation. Another issue is that these architectural wonders cannot be permanent. We solved this issue by taking photos of finished projects before they were deconstructed. By no means is this an exhaustive list, but it’s a great place to get ideas for your own architectural center.

What do your students gravitate toward during free-choice?

What architecture and engineering items would you add to this list?

Alecia Eggers Kaczmarek


Alecia is an elementary art teacher in central Iowa who is passionate about teaching and reaching her students with an innovative and meaningful arts education.


  • I love this! I will be adding and architecture station to my room as soon as the “big snow storm ” passes. I do have a graft paper station and they just love that stuff!
    Lee Darter

    • Alecia Eggers

      Yes! Stay safe in the snow! Let me know how it goes Lee! :)

  • Mel

    I have two large boxes of wood scraps from a fellow that makes wood toys to sell at craft fairs. They are all of a similar width, but in the most fantastic shapes. Some are short, some are long, many of one straight edge and one very wavy. The kids love building with them. So don’t let cost put you off, ask some local wood working businesses to save you their scraps.

    • Alecia Eggers

      Excellent advice Mel!!

  • Dawn Kruger

    Your DIY cardboard set is a great way to build large without needing a lot of storage. Love it! My students use foam blocks. I love that they are quiet when they tumble!