Cardboard Box Houses


I love using Arts and Crafts, in my teaching!

Using arts And Crafts, can be an great way to facilitate language learning with young learners.

For mixed age and level classes arts and crafts activities can supplement a course book which isn’t always appropriate for all students.

 Cardboard Box Houses 

My most favourite craft, is making  cardboard dollhouses, which is a great way to recycle old boxes and create a new toy, which we can use later, in class!

Dollhouses provide hours of fun and can be configured in any number of ways. I find that, using cardboard is a fun way to construct a place to use in class in order to teach and practice ie colours, rooms, furniture, prepositions, adjectives and so much more…

Are our students  even remotely interested in all the above ? Not really!They want to play with the item ie box, turning out to learn, so many new things!

When  in Primary school, my daughter, Alexiana, created her own recycled doll house out of recycled items from around our home. Large cardboard box for the house, cereal boxes as dividers for the rooms, lids, wrapping paper for wallpaper, bows, glitter glue and paint, plastic applesauce containers for a table, medicine box for a bed and cotton balls for pillows and many other cool ideas.

That doll house, has been used in my lessons, all these years! When I showed it to my 3rd graders, for the first time,they wanted to make one ,too!

Inspiration, is contagious!

Children are visually inclined people. They love things that they can see and touch. This is why we have to use educational materials that they can see and touch with their own hands.

To teach or revise vocabulary, here are questions you can ask the children.

1. Where do you sleep?

2. Where do you take a bath?

3. Where do you eat?

4. What room will you use when you want to sleep?

5. What room will you use when you have guests?

6. Do you have a play room at home?

7. Where do you play with your brothers and sisters?

Then you can ask questions about the different colours they see.

Time to teach the main parts of the house.

1. Post

2. Wall

3. Stairs

4. Ceiling

5. Floor

6. Door

7. Window

Furniture and numbers

10) cushion
11) desk
12) dishwasher
13) fireplace
14) fridge
15) lamp
16) microwave
17) picture
18) rug
19) shower
20) sofa
21) telephone
22) television
23) toilet
24) wardrobe
25) washing machine

Students are asked to describe what they see

ie There are four chairs in the yellow kitchen

Time to work on  prepositions of place, some more. To do so, you could try the following activity.

Upside down home

After describing what they see in the dolls house ,you can divide the class into two teams. One team leaves the room. During their absence, the other team moves five different objects/pieces of furniture around. For example, they may place a cushion on the floor, remove a remote control, change something on a team member, or overturn something. When the other team returns, they must find the five differences and talk about which item is where.

Here are two links to help you make them -or have your students make their own dolls house…



As I hope I have demonstrated in this post, arts and craft, definitely have a place in the language classroom and can be used in many different ways. They are a great resource for discussions as well as practising a variety of language. Activities incorporating art /craft are motivating for students, provide an often welcome change of pace and can stimulate and develop creative and critical thinking skills.

Whether these activities work for you or not, just the fun of making crafts together will improve the tone of your classroom, and the engagement of your students. Guaranteed!


Guest speakers , in our ELT class!

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Bringing a guest speaker into our class is an opportunity I always seek out !

My students are exposed to a different style of spoken English, and they  also learn content  that will benefit them in their education, in general !

To make sure that my studenrs get full benefit , I don’t just bring a guest in and let him/her speak, though…. I usually guide him/her  and help them with ideas about what they can do with each one of my classes


I always prepare my students on the topic first! That is, after presenting my  students with information about the speaker and the topic which she  will discuss, I  have each student write three to five follow up questions for our  guest. For example, before Vicky Loras visited my class last week, I asked my students to think about what they would like to know about both her and  her country . Thinking of questions for a guest speaker can be very challenging to most ESL students, especially if we  ask them to do it on the spot  .When Vicky finished talking to my students, I encouraged them to ask the questions they had written  earlier in the week, as well as the ones they wrote down as she was speaking.

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I also make sure that, I prepare my students on the speaker, too! The more I  can prepare the  students on what they will hear and experience, the less anxiety they will suffer. I encourage my students to do their best to understand our  guest speaker and to let it go when they do not.

Behavior matters! I communicate with my  students ahead of time what behavior is expected when listening to a guest speaker. I tell them that, they should listen quietly. They can ask questions, but it is most polite to wait until the end  to do so.

I have to admit that, my students were really well behaved when Vicky  arrived! I am really proud of them!

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Also, I , always prepare my guest speakers as to the language level of my  students before they coms to class to speak. Vicky for example, was well aware of the different levels of my classes before she stepped into each one  of them.

To help my  speakers, I  make  sure I  have everything they would  need for the presentation including a projector and our laptop!

Vicky was amazing at encouraging my students!  The lower the language level of the  class the more important this engagement is and Vicky was superb at this!



After Vicky had  left and my  clasess had asked their questions, I asked my students how they felt about the experience! They were just thrilled! They loved Vicky, they came to know so much about Canada, too! Few students told me that they had struggles understanding the speaker but, I told them it was  perfectly normal for their level and age. Working with my  students before she came  and then again after she left made  this  good experience for my  students even better.


I usually try to bring in speakers of different ages with different ethnic and geographical backgrounds. It is also helpful if the speaker is a native speaker of English ,since his or her speech patterns are more realistic even if more challenging for my  students.

I have been thinking about how my class can benefit  even more, by developing an ongoing relationship with our speakers. In Vicky’s case, it would be great if she could either visit again one day or, arrange a Skype meeting with our  classes! How cool would that be?

Our present to Vicky, was an issue of our handmade English magazine!

Our present to Vicky, was an issue of our handmade English magazine!

Thank you Vicky Loras, for the opportunity to share a lesson with you ! I am looking forward to reading your comments about your visit in  our classroom, in a future guest blog post!

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