Housebuilding for Children

Housebuilding for Children - coverHousebuilding for Children: Six Different Houses that Children Can Build By Themselves

The six houses featured in this book are:

The Post and Beam House
The Tree House
The Factory-built House
The Junkyard House
The Glass House
The Wood Frame House

It caught my eye when a patron asked for books about c-sections (which I failed to understand was a type of house plan and took them promptly over to the women’s health section). Once I realized they were talking about house plans and we got to the right area, this little number was just sitting there calling to me. Houses that children can build by themselves?? Really?

There might be some enterprising kids out there that are pretty handy with tools, but the instructions in this book are akin to putting together a dresser from Ikea. Most adults would have trouble, but there they are on the cover, raising a roof!

My favorite is the kid with his head sticking out the soon-to-be window, with a saw aimed at his face. There are no safety glasses being worn in any of the pictures and no gloves while digging through the vat of rust and splinters for The Junkyard House materials.

The pictures are all black and white and the outfits and tools are straight out of 1977. Points for showing both girls and boys, though.

Cute idea, but desperate for an update.


Housebuilding for Children back cover

Sawing Out the Windows and Doors

Laying out the doors and windows


  1. So we have a confusing glass safety hazard, a long divider, a pile of refuse, a treehouse, and two structures that are relatively akin to proper houses.

    The last two categories in my list above are each worthy of their own books and the remainder are just sort of weird.

  2. This book reminds me of my mother-in-law’s story of moving day when, to get her 3- and 4-year-olds out of the way she sent them to the basement with a few pieces of wood and a box of nails while the adults set the house up. It also reminds me why I feel so sorry for today’s kids and how much I worry about their ability to create a future when they’ve never been allowed to take risks.

    1. I know what you mean. When I was a kid I was allowed to make crafts using pointy adult scissors and real sewing needles, even though I had a bad bait of accidentally dropping the needles, where they’d disappear into the carpet and one time my dad found one when it went right into his foot.

  3. I was the kind of kid who would get really excited about a project like this, get out all my tools and draw some marks on the wood, then quickly lose interest and move on to something else – leaving all the tools and materials in the middle of the floor as a “work in progress.”
    Hm, maybe not that much has changed.

  4. I object– I love that kids could do real projects that were a bit dangerous. This was my childhood!

  5. I am really bothered that the saw is clearly turned the wrong way for the sake of the staged photo. It’s facing the direction it’s already cut.

  6. It’s about time somebody put those little freeloaders to work. I need a balcony built and I’m willing to pay in happy meals.

  7. My neighborhood friends and I built several of the “junkyard”-type houses, literally from scraps we scrounged out of the local dump! Wish I had a picture of the commode we made out of a washing machine drum and a found toilet seat. The kids today are missing out on all the fun!

  8. Considering I hung out in junkyards growing up, stripping parts off of old cars just for the heck of it, I would have found this book really cool.

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