Adult man and two children building a wooden structure.


Beyond Imagine A House – Wonder and Grow

November 15, 2015

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Explore at home: Ideas and activities to enhance your museum visit

Building is a natural pastime for children. Designing and creating structures, and experimenting with how construction works is exciting.

Building is a natural children’s pastime. Making design, creating structures, and experimenting with how construction works is exciting. The possibilities are endless. And that is why Imagine a House is such a popular part of the Children’s Museum of South Dakota!

Homes all have the same purpose – safety and protection, yet have unique features and characteristics. Imagine a House is all about exploring how others around the world build and use their homes. Here are a few activities to try.

Take a walk with your child.
Walk around your neighborhood, stop and look at the different houses and talk about the similarities and differences that you see.

Spend some time looking at a globe together.
Talk about the features and characteristics seen, such as the hemispheres, continents, oceans, and countries, as well as locating your home. Or check out Google Earth.

Design and build a structure with different found objects.
Build structures with canned goods or other found objects around your home.

Check out construction on new homes.
Walk past homes that are currently being built and discuss what is happening.

Look up Habitat for Humanity’s website.
See how the organization is helping people around the world build homes. Read stories from the Habitat for Humanity website together with your child.


Our Guatemala exhibit has many different characteristics when compared to our prairies. This exhibit provides an opportunity to see its differences, as well as the similarities. Below are a few activities to continue learning about how people in Guatemala live and build houses.

Find homes that have concrete block foundations.
People in Guatemala use concrete block and rebar to reinforce and protect their homes from earthquakes. Find a similarity by looking around your home or neighborhood and pointing out which homes have common concrete block foundations.

Learn about earthquakes.
Visit the US Geological Survey website, to view the location of the most recent earthquakes around the world and their magnitude.

Explore Guatemalan culture.
Visit the Rainforest Alliance website, to learn more about Guatemalan culture. The Rainforest Alliance TreeHouse page is all about a group of kids and their world in Pasa Cabillos, Guatemala.


Mozambique is located almost halfway around the world from the prairies of South Dakota. There are many differences when building homes in Mozambique, yet there are similarities too. Here are a few ideas to try to learn more about how children in Mozambique live and what their homes are like.

Discuss the woven walls of Mozambique.
People in Mozambique use reeds to weave walls. Compare the walls of your home to the woven wall in our Mozambique exhibit. Together with your child, discuss how it is the same and how it is different.

Meet kids from Mozambique.
Visit the World Through My Eyes website to meet kids from Mozambique and see photos they have taken.

The Building Square

The Building Square provides opportunities for building with tools. Children create forts, houses, and other structures. Here are a few more ideas to extend their building opportunities.

Create a fort.
Use blankets and other moveable furniture such as dining room chairs or sofa cushions to create your own fort.

Together, read parts of the book, Underground by David Macaulay.
Then go for a bike ride around your neighborhood noticing the fire hydrants and manhole covers. Stop by ones that are in a safe spot to inspect more closely. Wonder together about how they are used and what might be under the lid or where the connecting pipes might go.

Draw a floor layout of your house with your child.
Try diagramming the electrical circuits or plumbing pipe layouts too.

Explore our Imagine A House exhibit.