I feel so lucky that I live only about an hour away from Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater. As one of the most notable pieces of 20th century American architecture, this summer home to the Kaufmann’s is one of the most stunningly beautiful places that I’ve ever been. Even my 12-year-old (who is often known to roll his eyes in disguised as he grumbles) said, “Yeah mom, it is pretty impressive.” Did I mention that he made it through the one-and-a-half hour tour without touching his iPhone and seemed genuinely interested in everything that out guide had to say?
Even I you don’t have the chance to see this super-cool house that’s built into a waterfall, your child can still learn about it and make a Fallingwater inspired nature activity. Before I begin with the activity steps, here’s a little background on this piece of architecture (you can give your child whatever facts you figure are age-appropriate and share pictures of the place if visiting it just isn’t in the cards):
· Was designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright in 1935 for department store owner Edgar J. Kaufmann. It is located in a wooded, mountain area of Western Pennsylvania.
· Was a retreat for the Kaufmann’s to get out of the city and relax.
· Is set into the natural surroundings. Wright used the setting to create an organic piece of architecture that actually sits on the edge of a waterfall. The surrounding stone works with the home, coming in and serving as part of the structure.
· Still has the original (Wright-designed) furnishings in it.
· Is made from stone, glass, concrete and metal.
For more information, check out Fallingwater’s official website.
Show your child a picture or two of this amazing piece if architecture, letting g her tell you what she sees. If she doesn’t mention it, point out that the home is set into the natural surroundings.
Now it’s time to explore with building and nature! While your older child might want to try making a mini model of Fallingwater, your young artist can explore and experiment with a nature-based building box. This is a totally open discovery-oriented process. Your child doesn’t have to build “something”. Instead, encourage her to play with the natural items, trying to solve this problem:
“How can you use what’s in the box to make a building?”
Here’s What You’ll Need:
· An empty cardboard box
· Rocks or stones
· Plant-based items such as grass clippings, leaves, stems or petals
· A shallow foil or plastic pan
There’s no right or wrong way to do this activity. You may also want to add in other nature-based materials or even some reused items such as smaller cardboard boxes or plastic water bottles). Use the shallow pan as a base to catch any water that your child might want to add. She can also keep her architecture activity in the box as she builds it. If your child is struggling to get started, some ways to use the materials include:
Making a mortar-like “glue” by mixing dirt and water (in other words – mud).
Stacking the rocks.
Building a “green” roof using plant parts.
Using twigs to make a rook or terrace.
Keep in mind that this activity is inspired by Fallingwater and the harmony with nature that it represents. Your awesome little architect doesn’t need to make a replica of the real thing or even a building that looks like an actual house. Your child can build and re-build with her architecture play kit. Snap a picture and print it out so that she can remember (and talk about) what she built if she disassembles it.
Are you looking for more art activities for your child to try? Follow my Pinterest board for ideas!Follow Mini Monets and Mommies's board Creative Kids Crafts on Pinterest.