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How to make an igloo with preschool children

Updated April 17, 2017

Building an igloo with empty plastic milk bottle helps teach preschoolers about recycling, construction, engineering, counting, crafts and the winter season. As a bonus, when there's no snow on the ground, kids can still enjoy indoor winter playtime inside their milk bottle igloo. It's a popular building activity at preschools and day care centres. Read on to learn how to construct a milk bottle igloo with preschoolers.

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  1. Well in advance of igloo construction, ask the preschoolers' parents and caregivers to collect empty plastic milk bottles and bring them to preschool. Preschoolers can help with rinsing out and drying off the containers and ensuring that the lids are securely fastened.

  2. Using sharp scissors, cut a large piece of cardboard into a circle shape. This round cardboard piece will serve as the "floor" of the igloo, so make sure it's large enough for the desired igloo size. Preschoolers can help cut out the circle using safety scissors and perhaps reciting a rhyme.

  3. Have the preschoolers arrange 23 empty milk bottles in a circle pattern on the cardboard, lids pointing inside, to form the base row. Leave enough space for the "doorway" area. You may want to position a long ruler where the "doorway" is as a reference point for keeping the round shape.

  4. An adult should then use a hot glue gun to glue each milk bottle together (in the centre, where the label is) and then glue the bottles to the cardboard.

  5. Repeat this process for about five rows high, gluing empty milk bottles on top of each other to form the igloo's walls. Have several preschoolers enter the unfinished igloo through the doorway to ensure that they have enough space to crawl inside easily.

  6. Now, remove the ruler and place it over the doorway area as you form the dome of the igloo by hot gluing fewer and fewer empty milk jugs to the top, tapering off to form a point. The yard stick will help keep the "doorway arch" milk jugs in place as the glue dries.

  7. Tip

    Preschoolers can use their new igloo as a reading area, as a hiding spot or even as a stage for putting on plays. Remove the ruler and have the preschoolers measure how many high the igloo stands. Use the igloo as a lesson about how real igloos are made with snow and ice. Have the preschoolers use their hands or other objects to measure how high the igloo stands, introducing the concept of "nonstandard measurement."


    Use caution when handling sharp scissors and a hot glue gun. Let the glue dry completely.

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Things You'll Need

  • 200 empty 4.5 litre (1 gallon) plastic milk bottles
  • Scissors
  • Cardboard
  • Ruler
  • Hot glue gun
  • Glue gun sticks

About the Author

Originally from Indiana but now based in upstate New York, Lisanne Jensen has written professionally since 1988. Her journalism career includes government and features reporting for several Indiana newspapers, book editing, and marketing/graphic design. She holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in journalism and French from Indiana University.

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