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Salt Dough Maps

One of my students’ favorite projects each year is making maps out of salt dough.

 I remember using salt dough myself as a child and it’s still such a great idea. Salt dough is perfect for a number of reasons.
·         It is easy to make. I actually send a note a week ahead of time with the recipe and let the students bring their own salt dough to class.
·         It doesn’t stain clothes.
·         It can easily be painted (even when it’s not completely dry). We actually paint ours with watercolors.
·         It’s nontoxic – face it, we know that some of the students are going to taste it!
·         It lasts for a few weeks when sealed. As long as it is sealed, it shouldn’t dry out before you use it.

How do I use it in the classroom? I love using it to make maps. Every year we use it to illustrate the regions of Texas.
 I usually send a note to parents with a recipe two weeks in advance. Of course you’ll need to make an extra batch for those who don’t bring any. The recipe that I send home is the simplest one that I have found.

Salt Dough Recipe

2 cups of flour
1 cup of salt
About 1 cup of water

Combine the salt and flour. Add water slowly and mix until the dough is the consistency of play dough. Add more flour if the dough is not holding its shape.

Salt Dough Tips

·         Cheap paper plates work great as a base for the maps. I like them because you can hold them up to the light or to a window to trace the shape that you need.
·         Work in groups! I put down large pieces of butcher paper and allow them to work on groups of 3 or 4.
·         Bring extra flour. This is so SO important! Place a small pile of flour in the middle of the group and allow them to dip pieces of dough in the flour so that it is not so sticky.

·         Let them dry for 2 days before painting. You can actually paint them when they are not completely dry.

·         Crayola brand water colors work great for painting them and are easy to clean up.

Combining Spelling with ART!

I LOVE combining Spelling with Art. For our Spelling lesson today, we put our names in a circle in the middle of the paper. Then, we used our rulers to draw lines from the circle to the outside of the paper. We drew 12 lines since we have 12 spelling words this week. Inside each space, we wrote our spelling words three times. We then colored the background in crayon or color pencil. No white space can be left on the paper. My students love this and they don't even realize that they are practicing their spelling!