Learning about Land and Water

What You Need:

  • Color map with green land and blue water  
  • Clear baking dish
  • Tape
  • Green clay
  • Small pitcher of water

What You Do:  

  1. Tape the map face up on the bottom of the baking dish.  
  2. Make certain that your young learner understands that maps are pictures of places. The map in our example is a picture of Australia. Because land is where most plants grow, the land on the map is green. Ask your preschooler: What color is the water?
  3. Now it’s time to recreate the map in three-dimensions. Don’t worry about trying to make an accurate map with mountains and valleys in the right places. If this is a new package of clay, have your kid work it between his hands so that it's more pliable.
  4. Working with a little bit of clay at a time, have your child press the clay into place and pinch and poke it so that it conforms to the land on the map. If he seems uncertain how to go about doing this, encourage him to place the clay in the center of the land and work it outward.
  5. Once the land on the map is covered with clay, add the water to your map. Slowly pour water from the pitcher into the baking dish.  

Expand on this project by having your child intentionally create specific land forms such as an indentation for a lake or inland sea. He can also create taller mountains and use a plastic knife to cut a river down to the ocean. Use a watering can or spray bottle to create rain. What happens when the rain falls on the land?

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