Today we have the cutest paper bag craft for kids, paper bag houses! Making paper bag buildings is a great activity for toddlers, preschoolers, kindergarteners and even older kids. Building a paper bag city helps kids benefit from exploring pretend play, learning about the world, practicing socialization and social cues and independence with this fun dramatic play activity. AND it is a really fun paper craft! Make a paper bag village at home or in the classroom.
How To Make Paper Bag Houses & City To Promote Dramatic Play
Dramatic play is a great way to get kids engaged in their imagination and explore the world and social cues. And what better way to do this than with a pretend city made from paper bags!
Related: How to make a paper house
This is a great classroom craft where each child builds a different paper bag building to add to the class’s paper bag community.
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Supplies Needed To Make Paper Bag Houses
- lunch size paper bags
- old newspapers (or packing paper)
- paint, markers, stickers (get creative!)
Instructions To Make a Pretend City And Paper Bag Houses
First, you color the bags to look like buildings and houses. We started with painting the bags two different colors to give the appearance of a roof line. My daughter loved helping with this part.
Tip: We first did this with markers but the colors seemed dull against our craft brown paper bags. So we used paint.
The paint was much more vibrant than the markers but had the terrible feature of requiring a small amount of drying time which is oh-so-challenging for a preschooler to understand.
Now comes the fun part! Decorate the bags to look like buildings.
Details You Can Add to Your Paper Bag Buildings
- windows with or without curtains
- architectural details like columns, arches
- and whatever else you can think up!
Let your child come up with some ideas of what they want in their city. There could be a school, hospital, fire station, etc.
Then stuff the paper bags with a sheet of crumpled newspaper, fold the top edge over a few times and staple it closed.
Our Finished Paper Bag Village
They make for such cute little buildings by themselves but really come to life when you line them up and add a few action figures to the scene.
Another Paper Craft: Make paper dolls
Our Experience Making Paper Bag Houses and City
After I showed my daughter how to make a few of the buildings in her pretend city, I let her paint and decorate some buildings her own way.
- It was tempting for me to jump in and help her choose colors that went well together or help her see where the roof line would actually be.
- But I just sat there and watched her do her own thing. I’m so glad I did. She was much more creative than me and chose a more vibrant color palette.
- But most importantly, she is so proud of her creations. Even though she had helped me paint the other buildings, they just weren’t as special to her as the buildings that she designed and created herself.
Now we have a sweet little city to act out her cute little stories in.
Benefits of Pretend Play
Young children learn by looking and listening. They closely watch what those around them do. In order to process all of the information they take in, children often imitate and act out similar stories through dramatic play.
For example, kids like play kitchens with pretend food and little tool benches with plastic tools so they can be just like Mom and Dad. Not to mention, they can practice social cues within their little city and this dramatic play activity also promotes independent play which is also important for toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergarten kids.
We came up with an idea for making our own little play set that looks like a pretend city. Now my daughter can act out all of her creative stories in her own little personalized town.
- First, you color the bags to look like buildings and houses. We started with painting the bags two different colors to give the appearance of a roof line. My daughter loved helping with this part.
- Now comes the fun part! Decorate the bags to look like buildings. Add: flowers, windows, doors, shingles, and more!
- Then stuff the paper bags with a sheet of crumpled newspaper, fold the top edge over a few times and staple it closed.
More Dramatic Play Crafts and Activities From Kids Activities Blog
- Kids love to imitate the world around them through dramatic play with action figures, costumes, and play food.
- Let your child be a vet with this fun veterinarian dramatic play activity.
- Pretend to be like mommy and daddy and work at home with these fun dramatic play toy sets.
- Here is our big list of pretend play ideas!
- Or let them become a secret agent or a FBI agent with the pretend play ID cards for kids.
- Playing doctor has to be the most popular imaginative play amongst kids and you can make an awesome doctor’s pretend play kit for them using household items.
THE BIG BOOK OF KIDS ACTIVITIES
This toilet paper roll train craft is one of the featured kids crafts in our newest book, The Big Book of Kids Activities has 500 projects that are the bestest, funnest ever! Written for kids ages 3-12 it is the compilation of bestselling kids activities books perfect for parents, grandparents and babysitters looking for new ways to entertain kids. This toilet paper roll craft is one of over 30 classic crafts that use materials you have on hand that are featured in this book!
Oh! And grab The Big Book of Kids Activities printable play calendar for a year’s worth of playful fun.
How did your dramatic play paper bag city and houses turn out? Let us know in the comments, we’d love to hear from you.