You can make a simple homemade island out of salt dough or crispy rice cereal treats. Younger students may want to make the salt dough island because there are fewer steps, and the overall process is less complicated. They may need supervision or adult assistance when cooking up the salt dough. Generally, the island made of salt dough will last longer than the one made of crispy rice treats, but it will eventually go bad. An island made of crispy rice treats might not keep as long as the salt dough, but the uniqueness factor is off the charts. There are quite a few steps to making the crispy-rice-treat project, so be sure to start well in advance of the due date. Older children may need a little assistance from an adult, but can probably work on the project fairly independently. Before you embark on this island-making endeavour, you should check with the teacher and make sure it's OK to use food in your project.
Mix the flour, salt, cream of tartar, oil, food colouring and water in a medium-sized pan. Stir together and heat on medium until it thickens and becomes stiff.
Let the dough cool until you are able to handle it comfortably. Knead the dough on a lightly floured board for about three minutes.
Shape the dough so it looks like an island. Islands can be almost any shape. You don't necessarily have to make yours a symmetrical cone shape.
Add small pebbles to the salt dough to show mountainous, rocky areas on the island. These must be added before the dough dries for the best effect. You can leave out this step if you prefer.
Allow the island to dry at least 24 hours. Depending on how big you make your island, it could take longer than 24 hours to dry.
Use tempera paints to paint a landscape on your island. You could use green to indicate forests, blue squiggly lines for rivers and brown for bare land. Let the paint dry completely, which should take two or three hours at most.
Melt 6 tbsp butter or margarine in a large pan over low heat. Add the marshmallows and stir until they are completely melted into the butter.
Remove the pan with the butter-marshmallow mixture from the heat. Stir in 12 cups of crispy rice cereal and mix until completely combined with the marshmallow.
Tear a good-sized piece of waxed paper off of the roll. Place on cookie pan for stability.
Butter your hands or wear plastic gloves so the treats don't stick to your hands.
Mold the crispy rice cereal mixture into an island shape on the waxed paper. Make sure to pack it together firmly. Once your island is in the desired shape, let it cool completely.
Break your fondant into a small, a medium and a large ball. Knead each ball until the fondant is soft and pliable.
Put on a fresh pair of plastic gloves. Using a toothpick, add a few dots of blue icing colouring to the small fondant ball. Add a few dots of brown icing colouring to the large ball and a few dots of green icing colouring to the medium fondant ball. Knead the colouring throughout each ball of fondant, changing to a fresh pair of gloves between each one. This is to avoid mixing the colours.
Roll the large ball of brown fondant into a flat circle that will fit over your island. Once you have it about the right size, drape the fondant over the island.
Use a craft knife or the end of a paring knife to cut sections out of the brown fondant. Do this where you want to indicate forests.
Roll the green fondant into a thin, flat circle. Next, place the pieces of brown fondant that you just cut out onto the green fondant. Trace the shapes onto the brown fondant using the end of a toothpick. Remove the brown fondant pieces. Cut the pieces out of the green fondant using a paring knife or craft knife.
Place the pieces of green fondant into the spaces where you removed some of the brown fondant on the island. Gently smooth the edges of the brown and green fondant together to create a smooth surface.
Roll out long, thin pieces of blue fondant for rivers. Cut various shapes from the blue fondant to use as bodies of water. Wet the back of each piece slightly and place on the island where you desire. Smooth the edges of the blue fondant and the fondant covering the island to make a neat seam.
Cut a piece of cardboard a suitable size for your island. You can make it rectangular, square, circular or oval. It should be bigger than the base of the island.
Paint the cardboard blue or blue-green to indicate the water. Let it dry completely, which may take an hour or two.
Move the island to the cardboard. Attach it to the cardboard with regular glue, super glue or a hot glue gun. Let this dry completely. Super glue and hot glue will dry almost immediately. The regular glue might take an hour to dry.
Make a key and a compass rose for your island, if required. The key should tell what each colour stands for and the compass rose shows directions (north, east, south, west).
To avoid injury, children should be supervised when cooking the salt dough or the crispy rice treats and when working with knives.