We love maps and we need wall art for the playroom in our new house. So we made some. I would love to say this project is easy but that would be a big fat lie. The painting is easy but the cutting is not. As you may notice below our contact paper on our Canadian one wasn’t pressed down perfectly and now Nova Scotia and New Brunswick are islands . Ooops. It was still a chance to talk about geography , look at maps and cover the poor beaten up kitchen table with paint .
- Gather your materials. You will need some pre prepared canvases ( we got ours at Walmart), some paint, dishes for the paint, sponges or bath poofs for painting, sharp fine scissors, painters tape, vinyl letters , contact paper, print outs of maps and patience if you are the one cutting.
- Start by talking about borders and why countries have them. For really young kids use your yard as an example of borders, for older ones try adding in how each country has it’s own government who governs only within those borders. If you have ever crossed a border with your kids talk about that. Choose which country to turn into art ,and print out an outline .
- Cut your contact paper So it’s slightly larger than your map. Tape your map to the paper on the backing side. I the taped it to my table with painters tape so it was stable when I cut it. I left one side not taped and rotated as I cut.
- When it’s all taped I peeled and stuck it to to canvas. Press hard.
- Add the vinyl letters. I asked my son “How do you spell USA?” and I got the sassiest teen eye roll as he pointed out the letters on the sheet. Not sure if I am proud or appalled.
- Add paint to a dish or dishes if you are using multiple colors.
- Start painting. I have discovered that when painting a resist painting like these with stickers, contact paper and vinyl you want to use sponges, bath poofs or other painting tools that are soft and unable to get under the stencil and lift it like a brush could. I use washable paint for this because I have kids doing it, but to make the finished product last longer you could use less kid friendly paints too.
- We made Canada too – although the cutting was harder and I took some unintentional creative license with the borders , especially in the Maritimes. I turned it into a lesson as we compared our finished product with a real map. It ended up being a fun compare activity.
- Let dry, peel and reveal!
- These will be fantastic in the new playroom!
Books About Travel
Rooster’s Off to See the World by Eric Carle was reviewed by my son tonight as ” That’s a really nice book mama.” When I asked him what he liked he said ” The rooster was lonely, I only like trips with you and daddy too.” See Rooster has a grand plan to see the world, only he didn’t really plan it at all. Along the way friends join him but when night falls and they are cold and have no place to stay they all head home, and so does Rooster. I love that my son explained why Rooster went home and that he felt the same way not wanting to venture out to see the world alone… yet. Great book for kids learning to add and subtrack as well, as each page adds animals, then after the night falls each subtracts.
Dodsworth in New York by Tim Egan was a random book grab at the library and now we can’t wait to read the other books in the series because we loved it so much. The book is an easy reader chapter book but unlike so many of the leveled readers that I am reading with my son right now this one had depth, great characters and a hilarious sense of humor too. The story is about a guy named Dodsworth who decides to go on an adventure stopping first in New York. Things don’t exactly go as planned when the annoying duck from his favorite diner back home stows away in Dodsworth’s luggage. Dodsworth sees the sights in New York nonetheless. You will laugh a long with your child ( maybe even a little more). I can’t wait to read the next installment – Dodsworth in Paris!
How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World by Marjorie Priceman cost me a total of 15 cents at a thrift store. It is worth so much more than that. This book is a gem! Perfect for older preschoolers who are getting a sense of the world beyond their own home and city, this book takes you on a ride around the world! You follow the little girl to Italy, France , Sri Lanka, England, Jamaica and back to Vermont! As soon as I read this my mind was racing with classroom activities ! I will be posting some soon. I LOVE this book, I just wish I had read it when I was still teaching it would have been so much fun to teach geography with!
This activity is messy, but not at all difficult and can easily be adapted for different ages. If your child has sensory issues, it can also be an opportunity to work on breaking down some of those barriers as well.
For this project you will need the following:
First, glue your print out of the earth onto your piece of poster board. I ran out of poster board, so I used the top of a gift box, which worked great. My print out is a little sad, but Charlie’s not picky, so we jut went with it.
The next step is to make your map paste. Combine the salt and flour and cream of tartar in a bowl and then slowly add water until you have a paste-like substance. The cream of tartar is supposed to help with the consistency, but if you don’t have any, you’ll just have a chunkier paste. Add drops of food coloring if you’d like your map to have a color other than white–we used green.
Take your paste and then spread it over the land areas of your map. You can be as precise as you like depending on the age of your child. Charlie was about three when we did this, so we were just glopping the paste onto the land parts of our map. As I’ve mentioned in the past, he also has some sensory issues (which are improving!), so he wasn’t thrilled about touching the paste. I ended up being the paster for the most part. If your child doesn’t mind, encourage them to create mountains, valleys, and maybe a river channel. For older children, you can find a topographic map and encourage them to match it as much as possible.
Allow the paste to air dry and you’ll have a three-dimensional map. After it was dry, Charlie loved his map and spent a lot of time checking it out (some with his mouth I will confess). Might not have been exactly what I envisioned, but if he enjoys it, then who am I to judge?
_________________________________________________________________________Katy is a mom of one ( with two on the way) who loves art, mystery novels, and anything involving peanut butter–she blogs about raising her little miracle at Bird on the Street.
- Gather your materials. You will need some white paper, permanent markers ( see why it’s not a toddler activity?), used coffee grinds in the filter, and some ribbon.
- Using permanent markers draw a treasure map. I like to use things in my backyard as the “stops” in the map. I have our trees, a basket ball and blocks – you don not have to use real things. However for the activity below using real things will make it easier.
- Taking out most of the coffee grinds rub the outside of the filter all over your map to make it look old and dirty! Let dry. You can also use tea but it takes much longer and we all know how much kids love to wait.
- Randomly rip the edges to make the map look more authentic!
- Roll up and scrunch and secure with a ribbon!
With my toddler we went to the park and hid his new ball. We busted out the map( that I made ) and followed the pictures. We counted to ten, reached up high, found something red and touched our noses! As you can see you have to fit the challenges to the specific child but trust me, everyone will be having so much fun they won’t even notice all the learning they are doing!