How to Make a USA Map With Your Kids
This year we used Around the World in 180 Days by Sherrie Payne, for World History, Geography, and Cultures. I don’t about you, but I get tired of teaching the same way, with the same books, every year. This book was a welcome change, especially since I’m homeschooling the 4th and 5th child at this point.
We made a Play-Doh map of Europe earlier this year, and it really helped the girls to get a handle on Europe’s geography. So, I decided to let them make a USA map when we began North America.
- 24 x 30 poster board frame- I found mine at Walmart- get yours here
- USA 2′ by 3′ floor puzzle, by Doug and Melissa- get yours here
- colored construction paper
- school glue
- 1″ sponge brush
- black Sharpie marker
- paint for map background-blue or purple- I used 20226 Apple Barrel Petunia Purple
My girls have always loved our USA Doug and Melissa Floor Puzzle! It was only natural that we used it to make our own version. We traced each puzzle state onto construction paper with a pencil, (I outlined Texas, below, with a Sharpie, because pencil would not show up in the picture) and wrote the name on each state. I outlined all the state names with black Sharpie after the project was finished, because I thought the black Sharpie might smear when we painted glue over our map. I encouraged the girls to use different colors for close-together states. Some puzzle pieces contained more than one state (the New England area). They used a black Sharpie after the project and overlaying glue was dry, to separate those states.
Next, I folded a wall map once, then again, to find the center point of the USA. It was right in the center of Kansas.
The girls painted the cardboard backing in the poster board frame purple. This represents the water. I measured horizontally and vertically to find the center point on the purple cardboard backing, and marked it with a pencil. Then, we glued our construction paper Kansas on top of this mark. You can save yourself some trouble by gluing Kansas in the center from the start, no matter what size board or puzzle you’re using.
Kansas became the starting point, and we glued all the other states around it. You can tell that I wasn’t too picky regarding their interpretation. I just wanted them to learn.
When we finished gluing all the states onto the poster board, we coated everything with watered-down school glue, forming a slick, Modge Podge-type surface on our map. After it dried, we added another coat. I put a little more glue on pieces that weren’t adhered well (see below) after everything else was done.
You’re all done! Time to put that map in the frame. The cardboard backing will fit perfectly, because it came with the frame.
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