architecture, construction, and design for kids


KidsBuild! 2015BSASpace1

Where: BSA SPACE, 290 Congress Street, Boston
When: Saturday April 11 & Sunday April 12, 2015
Who: Families with children ages 5- 13

Registration is HERE
KidsBuild! 2015 registration is full. If you would like to be notified if space opens up, please email us @ with the date and time you would like to attend.

Want to Volunteer? Go HERE

KidsBuild! is a hands on, interactive learning experience for children.  The event was developed by the Boston Society of Architects (BSA), a chapter of The American Institute of Architects, which is committed to creating learning opportunities for children through design and the built environment.  It is our intention to use this event to broaden the understanding of the world in which we live.

Ask a child to describe his or her home; they often have a difficult time finding the words to communicate the image in their mind.  Given a few words of encouragement and a pile of building materials they begin to explore their imagination and build what they cannot find the words to say.  We simply hope they have fun creating their vision, as they explore the possibilities of planning, design and construction.

The event takes place in a fictional city complete with streets, harbors, squares and other familiar features.  Each child selects a building site from a color-coded map of the city, which corresponds to basic zoning laws.  A sense of scale is explored through the standard building block established by a shoebox.  On some sites the buildings may be as many as 7 or 8 boxes high, while on others the height is limited to one box.

After the site is selected, children move into the construction yard to assemble their building.  This is done with the donated materials such as shoeboxes, milk cartons, cardboard tubes, colored paper and other miscellaneous tools.  To begin to understand the context that their buildings will exist in, the young designers are also encouraged to visit their site during construction.  Design responses from one building to another come into play as the children begin to receive or reject cues from previously completed buildings.

When complete, the building is placed on the site and the participant requests a review from one of the roaming building inspectors.  The inspectors are architects and other design professionals who become listeners and encourage the young designer to explain his or her work.  It is also an opportune time to be more interactive and pass along information about planning, context, building types and artistic expression.

The target age range is 5 to 13 years of age, but the event appeals to all ages.  Each year, we have hundreds of children participate. The activity takes a minimum of 2 hours.

KidsBuild! was developed by the Boston Society of Architects (BSA), a local chapter of The American Institute of Architects, in conjunction with the 1992 national AIA convention in Boston and held at the Museum of Science.  Subsequent events were also held there in 1996, 2000, 2002 and 2004.  In 2007, the event moved to the Institute of Contemporary Arts in the Fan Pier District and stayed for the 2009 and 2011 events.  KidsBuild! moved to the new BSA Space gallery space in Atlantic Wharf in 2013 and has since been held annually.

KidsBuild!, supported by the BSA Foundation, is a Learning by Design Family Design Day. Family Design Days encourage children and adults to observe, explore and design together. In these hands-on monthly workshops, families are introduced to architecture and design through exhibit tours, walking tours or slide shows, and then complete a hands-on design activity. Architects and Design Educators lead the activities focused on the built environment of Boston and the world.

Robin Greenberg, AIA, KidsBuild! Planning Committee Organizing Chair
Polly Carpenter, AIA, Senior Program Manager/ Director of Learning By Design Programs


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