Mother’s or Father’s Day Activity (Grades 3-5)

treehouse-w-signature-72Lesson Plan by Amanda E. Gross
National Visual Art Standards: 1, 2, 3 & 5
Cognitive, affective, & psychomotor skills
1 Session

Learning Objectives: As a result of instruction, children will be able to:

  • Construct a model shelter from limited materials.
  • Consider a user’s needs.
  • Think critically about material choices, and about weather/location requirements.

For reference, the Design Thinking Process includes the following:

  • Understand
  • Observe
  • Define
  • Ideate
  • Prototype
  • Test

Instructional Support Materials and Supplies: Egg cartons, berry baskets, straws, buttons, pens, string, caps, recycled items, anything you happen to have! Scissors and tape would also be useful.


  • Warm-up activity: What is one thing that your mother / father / role model / guardian taught you? Did they teach you to build a tree house or help you build a fort? Would you like to build this person a tree-house hideaway?
  • Brainstorm: think about what your mom/dad/guardian likes and would like and need in their tree house.
  • Imagine: Where would you like your tree house to be? What sort of weather and land conditions would be there? What could you include to make your tree house comfortable?
  • Choose materials and construct your tree house. Try to experiment and try different ways of fitting objects together. You might want to include a way for your parent or guardian to get up and down from the tree house.
  • Share and explain: How did your tree house meet the needs and wants of your parent or guardian? What do you like about it? What did you find fun/challenging?
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