Edible USA Map

by GfG on February 9, 2012 · 4 comments

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I’ve promised to share every week or so a little craft or activity you can do with your kids.  Today’s one of those days.  And it’s edible.  Yea!  It’s NOT healthy.  Well, you can’t win them all.    🙂

We are focusing more intently on geography this year.  I’m using a new (to us) program (Visual World Geography, which I will review next week) as well as our musical standby (Geography Songs) and the kids have learned all the countries in South America, most recently the ones in Central America and all 50 states.  Even the three year old.  Seriously.

I promised them that we would make a special map after they learned the six major rivers, the mountain ranges, and five major cities.  Last Friday was that day.

This activity is so easy and you can tweak it to match whatever you are studying.  We made Egypt three years ago.

All you need: a roll of sugar cookie dough (or make some from scratch, my least favorite dough to make), a little bit of icing, food coloring, parchment paper (optional), cookie sheet, a ziploc bag and some M&Ms.  Oh, and an oven.   😉

  • Mix a little food coloring in a tub of the icing and blend well.  Pour the icing into a ziploc bag (if you place the opened bag into a glass and slightly wrap the top of the bag around the edges of the glass, this will be really easy… thank you Pinterest).  Set aside for later.
  • Cut open a roll of sugar cookie dough and place it on a sheet of parchment paper (since I didn’t have enough cookie sheets for each kid to have one) before your eager activity participant.
  • Tell them to make the shape of the United States of America out of the dough (set aside some for the next step).  I hung our wall map in the kitchen during the activity to help them.  Younger kiddos may need you to make the basic outline and then they can fill it in nicely (I just placed little blobs of the dough in the shape and they pressed the dough down as well as filled it in).

  • Next, have them use the set aside dough to make mountain shapes marking the four major mountain ranges.
  • Bake the United States edible maps. You can use the baking time to review the mountain ranges, rivers and major cities OR let your kids run around outside.
  • After the cookies have cooled,  each child gets a turn using the icing to mark the rivers.  Cut a tiny bit off the tip of the Ziploc bag (make sure it’s zipped close, ask me how I know) and allow them to squirt the lines of blue icing in the correct location.
  • Next, evaluate the mountain ranges.  Most of ours (not Princess’) did not keep their shape, so I let them use chocolate chips to mark the mountain ranges.
  • Lastly, let the delighted child dab a bit of the icing in the correct place for the major cities you’ve chosen (we are starting with Los Angeles, Miami, Houson, New York and Chicago) and place an M&M to mark it.
  • Take plenty of photos.
{Yes, we need to work on the size of Alaska as well as a more accurate location for Los Angeles, thankyouverymuch.}
  • Time how long it takes the child do eat their creation.
  • Smile at how painless it was to pull off a fun and educational activity with your kiddos.  Reward yourself with chocolate covered almonds.

Like I said, this fun activity is really easy, doesn’t cost much and leaves a great impression.  You can tweak it in tons of different ways: Texas, Africa, Egypt, South America, the list goes on.  You don’t even have to be a homeschooler to make use of this fun gig.  Match it to fit what your kids are learning in school or just do this one.  I mean, who can’t benefit from learning the major rivers, mountain ranges, and cities in the USA?

The fact that the kids get to eat the map after they make it is quite motivating.

Why not make an edible map/geography lesson with the kiddos in your life? 

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