Frank Lloyd Wright was born on June 8, 1867 in Wisconsin. His father, William, was a music teacher and minister, and shared his love of music, especially the works of Johann Sebastian Bach, with his children. His mother, Anna, was a school teacher. In 1876, when Frank was 9 years old, his mother bought him a set of educational blocks known as Froebel Gifts, consisting of four wooden objects, each about 2 inches square: two cubes, one cylinder and one sphere, with holes drilled in them and a wooden hanging apparatus. Young Frank spent a lot of time playing with these blocks, which he later described as having much influence on his approach to design. He wrote in his autobiography, “For several years I sat at the little Kindergarten table-top … and played … with the cube, the sphere and the triangle—these smooth wooden maple blocks … All are in my fingers to this day …”
Frank grew up to become a great American architect, interior designer, writer and educator, who designed more than 1000 structures, including dwellings, studios, offices, churches, schools, museums, and skyscrapers. He designed using a philosophy he called organic architecture, in which the structure was in harmony with its environment, and also reflected the personality of the person living or working in it. This was best exemplified in his 1935 design, Fallingwater, in which the dwelling was built into the mountainside over a waterfall. Some of his most famous designs include the earthquake-proof Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, Japan, the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, the Walter H. Gale House in Illinois, and the studio he designed for himself in Chicago. Wright was recognized in 1991 by the American Institute of Architects as “the greatest American architect of all time.” He died on April 9, 1959.
A Child’s History of Art – Architecture by V.M. Hillyer and E.G. Huey, an excellent introduction to architectural styles of various times and places.
Frank Lloyd Wright and His New American Architecture by Bob Kann, a biography for young readers, including drawings and photographs, maps, a glossary, timeline, and reading activities.
Famous Buildings of Frank Lloyd Wright, a highly detailed coloring book from Dover.
Speeding Down the Spiral, An Artful Adventure by Deborah Goodman Davis, a picture book about a family’s adventurous day spent at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City.
Moxie The Dachshund of Fallingwater by Cara Armstrong, a picture book about Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater, from the perspective of the dachshund that lived there.
The Wright 3 by Blue Balliett, a fictional chapter book about three sixth graders that attempt to keep Frank Lloyd Wright’s famous Robie House from being demolished.
Block Houses – Like the young Frank, encourage your child to experiment with blocks, building a structure that best exemplifies his personality. Then have child try to draw on paper what he has created out of blocks.
Container Buildings – Gather together all sorts of empty cardboard containers – cereal boxes, oatmeal cylinders, paper towel tubes, etc. Glue or tape all the containers together to make an interesting structure. Paint the exterior, or cover with paper, and decorate the inside as desired.
Take a virtual tour of Fallingwater
Crystal Bridges Museum, to watch the progress of the relocation of a Wright house.
Record what you learn about Frank Lloyd Wright on:
Learn more about Wright’s home state and complete:
All found on Homeschool Share’s USA Connections Page
For a tea time treat:
Build houses with graham crackers and honey to hold them together. Also use the honey to sweeten your favorite tea.