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On December 1st kids throughout New York State took part in a much-anticipated holiday-themed virtual workshop: they used their imaginations to create a house for an elf. We challenged children to think about what types of activities an elf might like, as well as imagining what styles, colors, and decorations their elf might enjoy. Participants rose to the occasion to build some very unique and creative homes. They also learned about proportion – making sure their houses were built to suit the size of the elf inhabitants – as well as architectural elements and styles.

A young boy smiling next to his holiday elf house project

Envisioning a work/storage space, one inventive six-year-old built a deeply gabled home where the first floor was designed as a workshop where elves would build toys for Santa. The second floor attic was a space where toys could be stored until Santa was ready to deliver them! True to ArchForKids design protocols, this attendee started out with a 2-D drawing of his design. Moving to the construction stage, the drawing was transformed into a wonderful 3-D representation of this child’s imagined elf house space. Typical of all our architecture project-based classes, the design incorporated sound building principles and design elements such as roofs, doors and decorated eaves and a chimney with a cotton puff “smoke” billowing skyward.

A red and white festive elf house made by a 6 year old

As one Instagram commenter remarked upon seeing some of the children’s creations, “I always love to watch the creativity unfold as children use the materials around them”. Speaking of using found materials, we must remark on another of the fabulous creations a workshop participant crafted using natural materials anyone could find around their yard, park, or common outdoor space. Using twigs and sticks as a siding material for her elf cabin, this budding architect continued with a rustic theme, employing nuggets of bark to create a very life-like chimney. The eaves were decorated with candies and colorful pompoms that would please even the most demanding of elves.

Not content to merely build an elf house, our creator went an extra mile as she took on the role of interior designer as well. Styling an interior complete with garland-decorated fireplace and lighted holiday tree, the cabin included a four-poster bed created from an assortment of candy cane shapes! Added touches included wrapped presents, stockings hung on the mantel, and a colorful bed quilt all hand-sewn from felt. Last, but certainly not least, our creative artisan constructed a tiny stuffed elf doll, named Rudy. We have it on good authority that Rudy loves her elf house!


a miniature log cabin festive elf house project complete with candy cane headboard bed, blanket and hearthquote


Clara B., the mother of one workshop participant who regularly attends ArchForKids workshops talked about how seasonal workshops like this help the children to feel festive, and that these “amazing programs keep the kids’ creativity growing”.

Make a Holiday Elf House was the most recent in a recent series of virtual programs sponsored by Yonkers Public Library and funded by an Arts Alive grant from ArtsWestchester. Previous workshops in the 2020 series have included, Make A Mighty Fort, and Make Your Own Halloween Haunted House.

The Make a Holiday Elf House is not the last seasonal virtual workshop ArchForKids will host in 2020. On December 18th an upcoming virtual workshop Make a Winter Wonderland Castle will introduce children aged 6 and up to yet more architectural concepts such as the architectural structure of a castle and the human-interest aspect of how people lived in these fascinating structures. And the virtual fun does not end with 2020, plans are already underway for an exciting 2021 series of workshops designed to challenge young minds, foster creativity, and encourage youths to ignite their imaginations as they explore and learn about the built environment.