Art projects are a creative and interactive way to teach preschool children about the seven continents. It can be difficult for small children to envisage how the world is shaped. Using a globe, rather than a flat map, for at least one of your projects will help them better understand how the continents lie in relation to the rest of the world.
Papier Mache Globe
Children can make their own globe map to keep from papier mache. Give each child a blown-up balloon and strips of old newspaper. Show them how to dip the paper in PVA glue and layer it up on the balloon. The papier mache should be left to dry overnight every two or three layers. When it is complete and fully dry, the children should paint their globes blue with craft paints. Give the children paper cut outs of each of the seven continents and get them to paint each a different colour. Show them a globe map and help them paste their continent cut outs on the correct place on their papier mache globe. When dry, they can paint over the whole globe with PVA glue to give it a clear varnish.
Help children understand how nature is different on each continent by drawing pictures of some of the different animals that live on each continent. Divide the children into seven groups, one for each continent, and give them pictures of animals from their appropriate continents to copy. Devote different sections of a classroom wall to each of the continents and the children can stick their finished animals on the correct continent.
Masks are used by cultures from each of the continents, except for Antarctica which has no indigenous human population. Look up pictures of traditional masks such as Native American or Venetian masks from Europe, and give the children a selection of images. Give them paper plates from which you've cut out eye holes and let them paint their own masks. For Antarctica, they can make "penguin masks" instead. When the paint is dry, stick lollipop sticks vertically to the back of the plates so children can hold the masks to their faces.
Children can make their own continent T-shirts and then play a playground game to help them learn where the different continents are. Divide the children into seven groups and assign each group a different continent. Give each group a couple of cardboard cut-outs of their continent and pictures of animals or flags from that region. Give each child a plain canvas apron, and fabric paints and pens. They should draw round the continent cut-outs and decorate the rest of their aprons by copying some of the images you've given them. Help them write the name of their continents on the apron. When they've finished take them into the playground and chalk out large areas to mark each continent. Children have to stand in their own continent, when you blow a whistle, they have to run to another child, swap aprons and then find their new continent to stand in.
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