Since we're studying the Mississippi River, I thought it would be fun to have everyone make salt dough maps of the river. Plus, it would give us an excuse for making salt dough, which is always fun to play with. First we made the dough:
We made blue for the water and green for the land. While I was mixing in the food coloring into the dough (no, I did not let the 7-year-old boys help me with the food coloring), each child was given a piece of cardboard, upon which they sketched the Mississippi River, Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, and the Gulf of Mexico. Once that was done, they took the salt dough and filled-in all the spaces they had sketched.
A. helping K.
Want to make your own salt dough? Here's the recipe that I used. (It's from the book, Kids Create! Art & Craft Experiences for 3-to-9-Year-Olds by Laurie Carlson.) I doubled this recipe and it gave me plenty for five children to play with.
1 cup flour
1 TBSP salad oil
1 cup water
1/2 cup salt**
2 tsp cream of tartar
Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan. Use a wooden spoon to stir over medium heat. Stir constantly to prevent sticking. The mixture will be soupy for several minutes and then suddenly it will stick together and can be stirred into a ball. When it thickens, remove from heat and continue stirring. Turn the hot ball out onto a floured surface, and begin kneading as it cools. This is when I divided the dough and added food coloring. I used quite a bit to get the color I wanted. Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator or freezer.
**If you are using a lot of salt for a project, either making lots of salt dough, or perhaps mummifying a chicken, I would suggest you buy it at Aldi if you have one close. It's a lot easier to justify 33 cents a carton when you need a lot of them.