The Museum offers a variety of programs on-site and to do at home. We encourage your family to discover architecture, design, and engineering in fun and interactive ways.
Check back for updates on The Big Build in 2023!
The D.C. Public Library has put together a page chock-full of information and learning fun, including book chats on social media, virtual readings, activities, and much more. Check it out: Library at Home.
Interested in the profession of landscape architecture? The American Society of Landscape Architects’ Career Discovery & Diversity offers reading materials, activities, and information about educational programs and partnerships.
Continue your family’s learning beyond your visit to the National Building Museum. Engage your child and family in playful learning that is imaginative, constructive, and active. The resources below range from toddlers through elementary school, which you can make simpler or more complex based on your child’s age and ability.
In addition to the activities listed below (click the links for downloadable PDFs), asking your child simple questions, such as identifying colors and shapes, can encourage them to look closely at and learn more about their built environment.
Explore your local built environment with your littlest learner.
- Bell Pepper Architectural Drawings: Learn about three types of architectural drawings and practice them using a bell pepper as a model.
- Building Survey: Investigate a building in your neighborhood.
- Brick Who Found Herself in Architecture Coloring Sheets: Learn from the illustrator of Brick Who Found Herself in Architecture and color Brick while she journeys around the world. (The full book is available at the Museum Shop website.)
- Contour & Continuous Line Drawings: Make a contour, continuous line drawing, then learn about two architects who often designed using this style.
- Material Seek & Find: Seek and find common materials in your home and neighborhood.
- National Building Museum Paper Model: Print, cut, and assemble a mini model of the National Building Museum.
- Newspaper Forts: Build a fort of newspaper using basic engineering principles.
- Patterns in D.C. Architecture: Look closely at patterns in buildings around the city and practice making patterns of your own.
- Patterns in Nature: Look closely at patterns in nature and practice making patterns of your own.
- Senses Exploration: In Your Home: Use your senses to explore the rooms of your home.
- Senses Exploration: In Your Neighborhood: Use your senses to explore your neighborhood.
- Tiny Tinkerers Information & Coloring Sheets: Inspired by our popular Tiny Tinkerers program, learning about woodworking with toddlers and color labeled tools.
- To Roll or Not To Roll: Experiment with objects to determine what will and won’t roll.
Brain-Busters: Challenge your children with this series of questions that will educate them about the various aspects of the built environment.
- Week 1: What is Design?
- Week 2: Understanding Your Neighborhood
- Week 3: Identifying Neighborhood Challenges
- Week 4: How Would You Change Your Neighborhood?
For our 2017 exhibition Wright on the Walls, the Museum commissioned drawings from D.C. artist/designer Scott Clowney and our own graphic designer, Vlad Zabavskiy. Many of those illustrations, based on numerous Wright creations (buildings, window glass patterns, and more), are available for coloring fun.
The Museum has created created six paper models for parents and children to print and build together. Each PDF has a color version as well as a black-and-white version, if you’d rather decorate the model your own way.
- Big Build Truck
- Box Back House
- Johnson Wax Research Tower
- National Museum of African American History and Culture
- National Building Museum
- Suspension Bridge
And if you really like to color, download this PDF with black-and-white images of the National Building Museum and Quartermaster General Montgomery C. Meigs, who designed our historic home.
Registration opens Wednesday, February 15
Celebrate your child’s birthday party at the National Building Museum! Our parties, themed on trains, castles, and Legos provide an unforgettable experience. This unique opportunity is available only to Family-level members and higher. To learn more about NBM membership click here.
To learn more about registering for a birthday party and to see a full list of available dates, click here.
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