I love setting up inviting and engaging small worlds and sensory bins for my students to enjoy, but having the materials on hand to constantly create new invitations to play can be tricky- and expensive!
I created these simple little printable houses to help add an engaging element to your play setups, with very little cost! There is a blank house, perfect for your children (or you!) to color and customize, and several pre-patterned ones in different styles that you can use to populate your small worlds- because let’s be honest, none of us feel like sitting around drawing individual bricks!
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Printable Houses for Small World Play
Click to download: printable mini houses for small world play
Directions for assembly;
Although they work fine on plain paper, if you want your house to be more durable, I recommend card stock, or, ideally, that you print and laminate them.
If you’d like the pattern on the inside as well, make sure to print them double sided and choose the option for short edge binding
2. Color the houses in
(If you’re not using a pre-patterned one). Make sure to color the interior and exterior differently, and to add decoration as desired (window boxes, flowers, inside- pictures on the wall, rugs, etc)
If you’re laminating, do that now. I used my Scotch thermal laminator with awesome results.
3. Trim around the outside
Make sure to leave all the tabs! (I left them white for the example to make them easier to see)
4. Cut out the doors and windows
You can use an X-Acto knife to start the cuts, or just pinch the paper slightly.
5. Pre-Fold all of the seams
Every black line except the bottom of the roof triangle will end up folding towards the middle. Creating all of the creases ahead of time helps it go together.
6. Glue the house together!
If you laminated: hot glue works the best. I found it easiest to start with the long seam across the walls, then do the roof, one side at a time
Next I would tuck the floor and all the tabs in, and squeeze a little hot glue between the tab and the walls on each side
If you didn’t laminate: a glue stick works best. Start with the roof and floor on one side
And work your way around
You will have to reach through the door to press the seams together
Now your houses should be ready for play!
The possibilities here are endless! These houses can be used with all sorts of figurines, dolls, and animals, in a variety of sensory bins, or set up to create a small world. Here are a few ideas to get you started;
Magic Space dragons-
space patterned house, blue felt background; glass gems, Safari Ltd. Dragon Toob
Scene from “Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig“!
Brick house, felt background, wolf from Safari Ltd North American Animals toob, pig from Safari Ltd. Farm Babies toob
(These houses are awesome tools for retelling stories, which builds reading comprehension and helps develop language skills! The printable actually contains all the patterns you’d need to act out this book. “The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig” is one of my favorite books- find out more about it here; Children’s Books That Get Everyone Giggling!)
Village with roads
Brick house, stone house, blank house, cars from the Target dollar spot, set up on our chalkboard activity table
(Read more about that here: 5+ Ways to Play with a Chalkboard Activity Table!)
Surreal sky house in the desert sensory bin
Sky house, brown rice, Safari Ltd desert animals
(Don’t have a sensory bin? Find out how to make one here: EASY DIY 2-in-1 Light Table and Sensory Bin!)
Stone house, felt background, glass gem pathway, Safari Ltd baby animals
Dragons in lava
Stone house in a sensory bin with scrap paper ground and an oobleck lava pit. For more instructions about how to make the lava, see Fun at Home with Kids’ Dinosaurs in sticky mud. (I used the same recipe, but with red and yellow food coloring, to make the lava).
note: the laminated house held up really well in this rather wet sensory play environment and remained fun for several hours, but enough water did seep in to make the ink bleed around the seams. It dried and will be reusable, but looks a little funky. Conclusion- use in wet areas at your own risk.
How else could you play?
Add a researcher’s station to a penguin scene- find out more ideas here: 5+ Ideas for Sensory and Small World Play with Penguins!
Put one in a little world that you create in a Super Simple DIY Paper Diorama.
Use the houses as a prompt when you Go On a Story Adventure with your Child!
How will You play with your free printable houses?
Leave a comment and let me know!
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