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September 21, 2014

Salt Dough Maps

A couple weeks ago we were going in depth learning about CA's regions.  If you are just tuning in, I absolutely love teaching about CA history.  It's a passion!  I love making history come alive. :)  
Sorry for digressing...  

I just wanted to share our region maps with you.  The kids each get a 10x10 board (it's a donation from a past student's family).  Throughout the week they practice drawing the shape of CA as part of their homework.  Then Friday comes, and they do the shape on the actual board.

After drawing the shape on their board, they knead their dough bags.  To make the dough, the kids each bring in 1 cup of flour and 1/2 cup of salt in a freezer gallon size bag.  I add 1/2 cup of water and close the bag, and they then "massage" the outside of the bag to mix it into a cookie dough consistency.  It's enough dough to cover the state and have some left over as well.  

On their boards, they fill in CA, and add detail for the bumpy mountains, flat valley, adding the rocky coast, and the flatish desert.  We filled in the boards right after recess on a Friday, and by the end of the day it was ready to fill in the rest of the board.  I had them draw the borders and label for the neighboring states, Mexico, and Pacific Ocean.  They then colored the board and let it completely dry over the weekend.

The following Monday morning it was time to paint.  Usually I paint outside, but this year I wanted them to sit at their desks to be able to focus.  Usually in past years I had them paint the oceans too, but I really wanted to limit the paint... for my own sanity.  Before school my 8 year old son added a paper plate, small paintbrush, and a paper towel to their desks.  Then I put a little bit of green, yellow, and brown onto their plates.  We started with the green, moved onto the yellow, and finished up with the brown.  After each color, they removed the paint on the paper towel, went outside to the bucket to rinse their brush, and then continued on.  It really was headache free.  After painting, the boards went back outside to dry for the day.  In the afternoon we added some wet glue and gold glitter on the coast to signify the coast, and for our state nickname "Golden State".  

All in all, it's a fun project.  Have you used Salt Dough before?  It can be used for many purposes.  

Have a great day!



  1. I love this activity! We just finished our salt dough maps of Indiana. My kids make the dough at home and usually add food coloring. I might have to paint next year. Yours look wonderful!

  2. I love this and I am going to share it with my team because I think the kids would love it!!!


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