Building with Wood for a Kids’ Playdate

August 7, 2017

Building with Wood for a Kid’s Playdate

Building with wood made our playdate special and memorable, but was also easy and fun for both parents and kids.  What I like about a project like this for a playdate is that the kids have another little friend to share ideas with. I also like that there is not a lot of adult instruction.  It is almost purely child lead.  Because of its open ended nature, this activity encourages creative problem solving and dialogue.  And I just love how the end product became a toy for actual play!  My son and his little buddy both decided they would create a car sales shop.   And his artwork is now a part of his Lego table he uses regularly.

Gathering Materials for Building with Wood


I had a tub of random scrap wood in my art supply collection, which was the inspiration for this project.  If you do not have any wood pieces, you can look at your local craft store for a variety of shapes and sizes.  I think it would be helpful to have some standard cubes and rectangles in the mix.  You may want to try a home improvement store like Home Depot for scrap wood.  I found a very promising  box of scrap wood for sale at Walmart you may want to try, although I have not ordered it myself.

Other than that you just need a piece of cardboard for the base, some school glue, and tempera paint and you are ready to go!  I laid down some paper to cover the table for easy clean up.

Building with wood for a kid's playdate that is easy and fun for both parents and kids!

Building With Wood to Create a structure

I gave a quick demo on how to glue the wood pieces together on top of their cardboard base.  It’s just like building with blocks except they have to be glued together.  The boys investigated the shapes of wood available, decided on making a car shop, and got straight to work.  I often keep books about architecture in the block and Lego area of our home.  They were ok without it, but afterwards I realized it could have been good inspiration.  If you would like a resource, you can find a book list of architecture from around the world here at Kid World Citizen.  There’s a book list of general building topics here at Happy Brown House.


Creating the structure sparked some very intense builder’s discussions.  Building was a trial and error process, and a bit of a balancing act.


After the structures are built, allow it to dry a bit before painting.  They were so excited they just had to park the cars in the newly built shop right away!

A wood building craft for a kid's playdate that is easy and fun for both parents and kids!

Painting the Structure

After the glue had mostly dried, we used tempera paint to add color.  This step was just as fun as building.  I gave each paint pot a brush so we didn’t need water to rinse between colors.  This made it less muddy.

Other resources

If you would like to read more about building with wood you can try these posts:

Create a Kids Keepsake Box with Craft Sticks (The Painterly Path)

The Best Wood Working Projects for Handy Kids (How Wee Learn)

A good resource for hosting an art playdate:

Art Playdate Ideas for Kids (The Artful Parent)



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