Build a House...Build a Dream

Presenting Sponsor: 

Fox Roach Trident Charities

Registration has closed for the
Build a House…Build a Dream Event.

Already registered? Here’s what happens next!

  • Students, start your building! It can be made of anything from cardboard to legos to real wood. All we ask is that it be no larger than a 2ftx3ft base to keep everyone in similar parameters.
  • Stop By the Downingtown Home Depot located at 965 E Lancaster Ave, Downingtown, PA 19335 between 11am and 2pm to pick up a Participant Goodie Bag including a Build a House…Build a Dream T-shirt, Home Depot building apron, and more!
  • If you are unable to make the February 27th date, you are welcome to arrange a time the following week to stop by the Habitat for Humanity Administrative office located at 1847 E. Lincoln Highway. 
  • Participants may submit their video and/or photos of your dream home between February 28th and March 8th. Click this link to submit your materials. 
  • We will contact the top 15 dream homes to schedule a Zoom call with our panel of judges who will ask each student more about their dream home.
  • The judges will deliberate and select the top three houses that will be announced during the presentation on March 20th!

If you have any questions in the meantime, please email

On March 20th, 2021 we will be sharing a virtual presentation of our 18th annual Build a House…Build a Dream contest. Fifth-grade students from the entire Delaware Valley are invited to build three-dimensional models of dream homes either individually or with a partner. In the 16 prior years, we have hosted this competition in person, welcoming over 400 individuals for a day of fun and creativity.

For the safety of our participants, volunteers, and staff members, we will host this year’s event virtually. We invite students to participate by submitting videos and photos of their dream homes to be virtually judged by a panel of architects and long time Habitat volunteers. We will then create a presentation highlighting the student’s designs and sharing an online link for friends and families to watch.

Photos and videos of participant’s homes must be submitted to by March 8th at 5pm. In the meantime, please register below so we can keep a record of how many homes we can expect. Each registered participant will receive a Build a House Build a Dream t-shirt and more fun giveaways as more sponsors join the event. Each participant will be entered into a raffle. Tickets for a parent raffle will also be available for sale on the website at a later date. All proceeds from raffle tickets will go directly to building materials for future Habitat homes.

Important dates:

Registration closes February 12th

Goodie bag pick up at Downingtown Home Depot on February 27th

All dream home submissions are due by March 8th

We will share a link for the YouTube presentation on March 20th

Be sure to share our video with your child or students to help explain what Habitat for Humanity does for the community.

Contest Rules
There are a few rules to the contest in an effort to keep everyone in the same parameters for judging. Please be sure to keep the following 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 must be submitted with their photos/video.
  • 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 Delaware Valley 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 in addition to their families sharing the link. Click here to learn more!
Frequently Asked Questions
  • What exactly is this contest?
    When the contest takes place in person, it may be easiest to think of it as a science fair. Instead of making a science project, students build a model home. With the contest being held virtually, the students still build their models but submit a photo or short video explaining the thought behind their design along with a 100-word description. Our judging panel will assess each dream home based on originality and creativity, use of materials, appearance and design, and independent effort. Once all the submissions have been judged, we will announce the top three model homes during the online presentation.
  • 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! Since our raffle prizes are normally to local businesses, we ask that participants be from the Delaware Valley. 
  • 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 in an effort to keep the contestants within similar constraints. Participants can use any medium they’d like including LEGOs, cardboard, and wood. 
  • Can my business be part of the sponsorship for Build a House?
    Absolutely! Click here to view our sponsorship opportunities.
Helpful Links
  • 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.
  • Video from Last Year’s Contest
    The 2020 Build a House…Build a Dream contest was set to take place in person on March 21st but due to the Coronavirus outbreak, we switched the platform to virtual. This year’s event will be a little different as we have more time to plan, but you can see last year’s dream homes for some inspiration!
  • 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!