Everyone Needs Shelter


Explore shelters around the world. Make crayon rubbings to construct textured models of homes where people in various cultures and time periods live.


1. Choose a country that interests you and locate it on a world map. Find out what types of homes people in that country lived in traditionally and where they live now. In China, for example, families who fish may still live on boats called junks, while city dwellers usually live in apartments. In the Philippines, some families live in houses on stilts. Some Navajo families today live in traditional 8-sided homes called hogans, but most of them live in ranch-style homes.

2. Choose a recycled box to use as a base for your shelter. Find textured surfaces that will resemble the building materials for your shelter, such as bricks, concrete, wood, or metal (corrugated cardboard with the top layer of paper peeled away). Place white paper on a textured surface. With Crayola Twistables® make crayon rubbings. The harder you press, the more pronounced your texture will be. Be creative! Experiment with mixing colors and turning your paper. Make different textures for the roof and exterior walls.

3. Figure out how to cover the box with your crayon rubbings. Draw on details such as doorways and windows. Attach the paper with a Crayola Glue Stick. Make sure your structure resembles the actual homes of the region and time period you chose.

4. Display and discuss your shelters with other students. Find similarities and differences in building materials, construction methods, natural resources in the area, and other factors. Arrange your shelters along a time line to show how shelters have changed. Try other groupings to show other similarities and differences.

Safety Guidelines

Adult supervision is required for any arts & crafts project. Observe children closely and intervene as necessary to prevent potential safety problems and ensure appropriate use of arts and crafts materials. Some craft items, particularly beads and buttons, are potential choking hazards for young children. Avoid use of such small parts with children younger than 3 years. Craft items such as scissors, push pins and chenille sticks may have sharp points or edges. Avoid use of materials with sharp points by children younger than 4 years. Read all manufacturers' safety warnings before using arts and craft supplies.

Scissors—ATTENTION: The cutting edges of scissors are sharp and care should be taken whenever cutting or handling. Blunt-tip scissors should be used only by children 4 years and older. Pointed-tip scissors should be used only by children 6 years and older.


  • Select another student’s shelter and explain why you would like to live in that type of home.
  • Create a replica of the native dress of the country where their type of shelter is located. Wear it when presenting your information.
  • Sketch each shelter. Write descriptions of time periods, construction materials, and other information. Compile an "Everyone Needs Shelter" book.
  • Assessment: Check the accuracy of shelter construction and descriptions of each.

Related Lesson Plans

Lesson Plans

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crayola supplies
  • Twistables®
  • Glue Sticks
  • Pointed Tip Scissors
  • Giant Floor Pad
household supplies
  • textured items, such as sandpaper, screen, paper doilies, rubber sink mat
  • corrugated cardboard



  • Grades 1 to 3
  • Grades 4 to 6


  • Social Studies
  • Visual Arts


  • 30 to 60 minutes


  • Students research and design traditional and contemporary shelters from around the world.

  • Children build replicas of structures resembling the chosen cultures and time periods.

  • Students connect with classmates to find similarities and differences in shelters and time periods by sharing their creations with each other.


Research Canada Standards
Research UK Standards
Research U.S. Standards