Above is a link to several ideas for Tiny Town and Teeny Town
This activity has transformed into many different things. It started when a coworker offered this as a summer week-long club called Tiny Town and TONS of kids chose it! She definitely had a way to sell anything to get kids to join her club, but this one topped them all! From there I tweaked it to my tastes and add elements from a book I found (Creat-a-Town Simulation by Teacher Created Resources). Then, I saw an activity some kids from another group was making on their own, creating Teeny Town.
Tiny Town Basics
Tiny Town is similar to Sims or other similar simulation games in that you run a town as a group by making a home and family, a business, and making transactions between each other for day to day needs and such. Buildings are made out of paper, markers, tape, and the like. Roads, parks, lakes, etc can be added. I’ve done it anywhere from, just placing the buildings onto a table freestyle to creating a designated space and making it look like a model train set up kind of thing. I’ve made strips of roads from felt, used green ‘artificial truf’ paper I found at a Re-Use Center, and even added fake snow in the winter. One year, we made a space station, using an activity I had found on Pinterest! The houses were 2-5 inches in height and either made by hand or printed off from the book mentioned above. The activity took up space…a luxury I had at the site I worked at.
Students were given a starting salary to purchase supplies (housing materials, plots of land, etc). Students also brainstormed ideas for businesses and services their town needed and then decided their business. As for family structure, I’ve done it where they chose their family to rolling one dice and the number that appeared was their family size. Kids kept themselves occupied with building homes and businesses, advertising their business, making inventory, and balancing their budget.
Next came selling and buying! Daily, students had to feed their families 3 meals, provide entertainment, and balance their budget. They received a general PayDay amount from me as well as earning more from selling their goods. Chance Cards were also added that contained good and bad fortunes, with some of the cards designed by the students to benefit their business. There was also some sort of natural disaster in which they had to work through. Other events included Tax Days, random audits, the lottery, a town celebration, elections, and more.
At the end of the day, we’d all gather to reflect on the day, bring up questions or concerns, and make other tweaks or decisions. At the end of the club, there might be an auction to sell off inventory and then tally up what their net worth was and compare.
The morphing into Teeny Town
Space and materials were the biggest obstacles of Tiny Town, as well as the prep it took on my part. So, Teeny Town was born! Like I said, there was a group of kids in another group that were making their own little version of Tiny Town. Their town fit on a couple of pieces of large construction paper! The houses and building were made from paper they found in the recycling bin and they used a ruler to make a grid to make 5 sided cubes (no bottoms needed, as the buildings were taped to the construction paper. Most houses were 1x1x1 and details were drawn in with marker before assembling. There is also a FANTABULOUS link on my Pinterest board on how to make a teeny house. Super cute and a LOT less of a space hog!
Absolutely NO room for Tiny or Teeny Town?
Go 2D and create a town on a bulletin board or large wall!
For Teeny Town Club
Individual towns will be created by the kids. A communal town, one where a home and a business for each member will be housed will also be created. In the communal town, transactions will happen like in Tiny Town. The individual towns will be on display and a variety of awards can be given for design elements and such.