I loved watching Mister Rogers' Neighborhood as a child. (Side note: Have you seen his new documentary? I've read many excellent reviews about it.) I loved so many aspects about that show - the set, his cardigan and canvas shoes, the crafts, the music, the field trips. I could go on and on. One thing I remember about the show was the model neighborhood he had. I just wanted to jump in and play with it. Of course, it's probably housed in a museum somewhere, but you're in luck. My class made a community out of paper AND they played with it. Here's what we did:


First I read Richard Scarry's Busy Town to the class for inspiration. After reading, we discussed what makes up a community. Then we brainstormed places that build a community. After we made our list (library, market, school, church, city hall, Staples Center, Toys R Us) each student chose which place they wanted to create out of paper.

Whenver we're drawing something on white paper then coloring it, I have ONE rule: Students must outline their pencil drawings with a black Sharpie because it makes the art piece POP!

1. After coloring and cutting, I took black butcher paper and taped two pieces together to give us an extra long working area. 2. Then we added our accessories - trees, people, and of course, roads! We made our roads from black and yellow construction paper. 3. After we arranged our community (don't glue anything down until this phase to make sure everything fits and makes sense) it's time to glue! 4. Now it's time for their favorite part ...


PLAY TIME! My students brought in Hot Wheels and Shopkins to play on our DIY community. They had a blast pretending to drive from one location to another. It was a win! Win!