I would someday love to have our own wooden barn, but it’s currently not in the budget. So in the meantime we decided to improvise and make our own! See how to make your own below.


  • cardboard box
  • scissors or x-acto knife (adults only)
  • red (and black—optional) paint
  • paint primer (optional)
  • tape


  1. Use scissors (or x-acto knife) to make the box into the shape of a barn, with peaked roof. To get the doors to fold out, score the inside of the cardboard.

  2. If you like, paint the barn with a primer.

  3. Outline as many windows as you'd like and a door with tape (we used painter's tape for its thinness).

  4. Paint the barn red and the roof black—or whichever colors your child sees fit.

  5. After the paint dries, pull off the tape to reveal the white windows and doors.

Even though we are done with our farm unit, this will be on our playroom shelves for a while. It's not wood or super fancy, but the fact that the kids had such hand in its creation makes it very special.

Rachel Lindsey is a former social worker and child care director turned stay-at-home mom of three. She is passionate about creating learning experiences that are fun and engaging for children. On her blog, Joyfully Weary, she shares numerous educational crafts and games. She also documents the things that make her family's everyday life a bit more joyful: celebrations, home decor, traditions, and more.

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  • Charles

    This summary of the research is somewhat disingenuous…. There is no other way to teach competent reading of English other than phonics! The so-called “whole language” approach is a fraud!

    On the other hand, phonics is NOT a good way of teaching spelling in English! English deviates from pure phonetics sufficiently to assure that students who are taught to spell phonetically become mediocre spellers at best. The best approaches to teaching spelling of English involve teaching the student to “picture” the word – or several possible versions of the word and then check out how the student FEELS while looking at each possibility. The only other practice needed to become an excellent speller is to read a lot!

    • KatieJ

      try a spelling-based phonics approach like the “Alphabet Island” method from Eagles Wings Publishers.

  • alana

    very informative. Who was the author of this article and when was it posted?

    • Corey Sharp

      is there an answer for this?

  • Jessica Jacquet

    I watched “Barney and Friends” when I was a girl. I like phonics. Phonics is one of my favorite subjects. I am teaching my wolf cut-out phonics. I have a “Spectrum Phonics grade 1″ workbook at home. I am going to be a phonics teacher. I am teaching my zebra cut-out phonics. My zebra cut-out is seven months old. Spanish is one of my favorite subjects. I was born in 1987. My older sister was born in 1985. “Barney and Friends” was on TV when I was a girl. I am a twenty-six-year-old woman. My older sister doesn’t like “Barney and Friends” very much.

  • http://WeLiveHereToo.info Jen Sendling-Ortiz

    Phonics instruction continues to be a critical component in literacy education. Especially for weaker readers, an over-reliance on searching for clues and considering context ultimately impairs reading with fluency. Phonics instruction helps automate decoding, allowing readers to spend more mental energy reading for comprehension. Parents can help by reading phonics primers to and with their emerging readers. This was a very informative article! Thanks, PBS.