When our boys were in elementary school, they each had a variety of assignments where they had to build a house or structure of some sort.
It can be a fine line between helping your children with an assignment and doing the assignment. I made sure that it was their project, even though I helped. Well, I helped a lot. : )
However, I embraced the opportunity to go in-depth regarding what they were studying at the time, discussing history, architecture, building techniques, design, art, materials, project planning, safe craft practices - i.e. don't cut yourself with the saw or knife, don't burn yourself with the glue gun, etc.
This particular project, our oldest son, was studying the Oregon Trail and the pioneers and students were to build a pioneer house.
Together we researched the pioneers, building construction depending on location, what their lives were like, the food they hunted, gathered and ate, how homes were heated, and so much more.
We brainstormed, created thumbnail sketches, and formed the plan. We created a basic structure of black foam board for stability, planned the windows and door, gathered, cut, and glued hazelnut branches to the facade, used pea gravel to make the stone fireplace, used wire which we hand hammered and bent for the door pulls, built a wood shed lean-to, created a chopping block, gathered lichen and greens to add plant-like material, used old shingles for the roof, and last, but not least, decided it was important to add an outhouse!
I have extremely fond memories of these projects that we worked on together and the opportunity to teach so much to my boys about history, design, and building.
It is proudly displayed on a top shelf in the living room and brings back wonderful memories each time I look at it.