Build a House...Build a Dream
Who: Fifth-grade students attending school in the Delaware Valley
What: A friendly contest amongst peers that lets students use their imagination and creativity to design a model dream home
Where: To be determined
When: Usually the end of March (check back for details)
Be the first to know about upcoming event information!
We are not currently registering students for the Build a House…Build a Dream Contest but we welcome you to read more about the event and sign up for email notifications.
How it works:
Students deliver their models to the set location for display and judging. Participants may drop off their models Friday March 20th between 5:00pm and 7:00pm or the morning of the contest between 8:30am and 9:00am. Students will need to be standing with their dream homes at 9:15am for our panel of judges to speak with them about their inspiration and process. There will be three rounds of judging with contestants being dismissed after each round. The top three dream homes will be announced during our awards ceremony with the top three prizes awarded to the winners. While our panel of volunteers, Habitat board members and architects in the community judge the dream homes, we will have raffles, snacks and activities for the students and their families to keep the fun going! The event ends at approximately 12:00pm after all prizes have been handed out.
Photos from last year’s event:
Though there are few rules to the contest, please be sure to keep the following rules in mind when building your model dream home:
- Models must be three-dimensional and fit on a base no larger than 2ft x 3ft.
- Students must prepare one written description of about 100 words or less explaining why this is their idea of a dream house and highlighting any interesting features. This paragraph will be displayed with their homes.
- Electrical outlets will not be available.
- The use of liquids (water, slime, etc.) is not permitted, as we want to preserve the cleanliness of our contest venue!
- Students must be prepared to discuss their entry with contest judges.
- Model homes will be judged on the following criteria:
- Originality and creativity
- Use of materials
- Appearance and design
- Independent effort (This is a contest for kids, not their parents!)
This free contest is open to fifth grade students in public, private, and parochial, charter, and home schools throughout the Philadelphia area. Students may participate in this event individually or with a partner. If you are registering with a building partner, you only need to submit one form, but must provide an email address and parent/guardian contact of the building partner.
Become an Event Sponsor
We thank the local businesses in the area for making this event not only possible but also free to all our participants. Sponsorship offers exposure to our over 400 attendees through day of sponsorship, email marketing, and social media posts. Click here for a full list of sponsorship opportunities.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What exactly is this contest?
It may be easiest to think of the contest like a science fair, except instead of making a science project, students build a model home. Contestants spend time before the contest building their three-dimensional model dream home and then present it on the day of the contest along with a written paragraph as to why this is their dream home. Judges will evaluate each entry based upon originality and creativity, use of materials, appearance and design, and independent effort.
- Who can participate in this contest?
Any fifth-grader in public, private, charter, parochial, or homeschool (or any other type of schooling we missed) can participate!
- Can I work in a group of three or more?
Sorry, but you may only work individually or with one partner. We want to ensure that each team member has contributed and been fully engaged in the project, which becomes difficult with a larger group. We can also only fit so many people behind a table the day of the contest!
- Are there any restrictions or requirements on what I can use to build my house?
Your house must be three-dimensional and fit on a base no larger than 2ft x 3ft and are not permitted to use liquids during the presentation of your house (we want to keep the venue floors clean!). Please also know that electrical outlets will not be made available.
- Do I need to be present for the contest?
Yes, the contestant that builds the house must be there to present their model to the judges. If working in a pair and one contestant is unable to make it, you may present the home with only one contestant present.
- Can I drop my child off at the contest and pick them up later?
All children must be accompanied by an adult for the duration of the contest.
- Can I bring my other children to this event?
Absolutely! Even though the contest itself is only open to fifth graders, the whole family can attend. While contestants receive raffle tickets, a light snack, and are eligible for prizes, there will be food for purchase and activities for the rest of the family!
- Can my business be part of the sponsorship for Build a House?
Absolutely! Click here to view our sponsorship opportunities.
Volunteer for the Event
Build a House…Build a Dream would not be a successful event without the help of an amazing group of volunteers! Below is a list of volunteer opportunities available. To sign up, please complete the information below and return to Latifa Raheem, Outreach Coordinator, via mail or email by March 1. You will receive a confirmation when your form is received. Questions? Call 610-384-7993, ext. 15. Volunteers must be 15 years of age or older.
Location and Helpful Links
The contest will take place in the Pavilion located on Church Farm School’s campus on Saturday, March 21, 2020. Church Farm School (CFS) is located at 1001 Lincoln Highway, Exton.
Church Farm School is a day and boarding college preparatory school for boys in grades 9-12 offering a competitive, affordable and personalized education in Chester County, PA. Learn more about Church Farm School at www.gocfs.net.
- Curriculum Guide for Teachers
There are many ways for teachers to incorporate Build a House into their curriculum. This helpful sheet offers some tips for integrating the contest into your lesson plans for a variety of different subjects.
- Event Description
See this document for complete contest details and guidelines.
- Contest Flyer
Help us spread the word! Bring this flyer into your school or show it to your favorite fifth grader!
- Habitat Videos
Can’t quite find the words to explain Habitat’s mission to children? You’ll find plenty of videos on Habitat International’s YouTube channel, but this short video featuring a Habitat homeowner’s charismatic child is our favorite!
- Quick Clip of Last Year
Check out Bill Henley talking about the contestants from last year’s contest.