Friday, September 30, 2011

Geography...the fun way!

Step away from the worksheets! Put the pencils down! Stop labeling maps!

Geography doesn't have to be boring. It doesn't have to be all pencil pushing. When it comes to making geography fun, get hands on! Even your most determined book and worksheet learners will have fun with salt dough maps!

First step is to make salt dough. You can find a multitude of recipes through a simple Google search. I love using salt dough for crafts because it is safe if ingested. We used the recipe found in the Tapestry of Grace curriculum. *Note: You can use wheat flour if that is all you have in the cabinet. I did, and it worked great!

Next, have your child build a country of their liking on a paintable surface. We used one side of a broken down cardboard box. Push toothpicks into the landforms you want your child to identify. Allow map to dry at least 24 hours.

Third, have your student paint the map. This was by far Princess's favorite step! We even used some blue glitter glue on the smaller water bodies to make it pretty!

Last but certainly not least, make labels for each landform and attach to the toothpicks. I used basic Avery address labels and folded them in half around the toothpicks.

Princess had so much fun doing this activity and it made learning geographic terms so much easier for her because she saw the formations come to life on her map! She was so excited to share her schoolwork with Daddy when he got home. Always a plus for me since he doesn't have to ask "so, what did you do in school today?" 

Another fun variation on this activity is to use cookie dough and "paint" your map with icing after baking it -- geography and a snack all rolled into one! I look forward to testing out this variation as soon as possible!

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