We dove in to a whole Geology unit recently. I pieced it together from great ideas I found online, ideas I created myself, and an activity that my kids happened to create without even knowing it! I love creative accidents that teach big concepts! We started our homeschool geology unit for kids with a DIY globe kids can make.
Even a preschooler can make this! This DIY earth model activity can be done with preschool kids all the way up to middle school and high school.
Simple supplies make this easy for kids to do at home. It works well as a geology lesson for kids about the continents, the oceans and the internal structure of the Earth. You can also use it in a space unit learning about the planets.
I am excited to share it with you!
DIY Globe: Earth Model for Kids
A globe (affiliate link) is a great tool to keep in the home. We use ours frequently when teaching history and science. The kids love imagining what the Earth looks like from space.
>>>CHECK OUT our Chemistry unit for kids.
We studied space, the moon and the Earth a couple years ago. My oldest made a DIY globe then. Kids thrive when learning about science and the world around them.
(affiliate links) Craft paint: blue and green
Scrap paper, newspaper, or paper shopping bags
How to make the DIY Model Earth Toy
Start by blowing up the balloon to the size you would like your finished globe to be.
Tear paper into strips. Approximately 2 inches long is good.
Cover your work surface with newspaper or an old piece of fabric. This makes cleanup easy. (Learn from my mistake when I did not cover the table first. LOL!)
Mix flour and water together in a bowl to make papier mache. (I mix 1/4 cup flour with water until I get a consistency of melted milkshake.)
(These project ideas using paper mache for kids are wonderful extension projects to try too!)
Show your child how to dip the paper into the flour-water mixture. Then wipe the excess off and apply to the balloon. This step by step paper mache walks you through how to do it if it is a new process for you.
Overlap strips so that the edges glue together. This keeps the model solid when it is all dry.
You will want to cover the balloon with one layer and let it fully dry. I set our balloon on a plastic bowl so that it does not stick to a surface as it dries.
After the first layer is completely dry, add another layer of papier mache to the globe. It will take 2-3 layers.
Once the globe is completely dry after all the layers, pop the balloon. I use a sewing pin or safety pin.
Pull the balloon out of the globe and throw it away.
Time for painting!
Cover the work surface again. Your child can paint the whole globe blue. This represents the oceans.
Let that layer dry completely. Then you can sketch the continents. I really did just freehand this. If you prefer you can print out the continents from this free printable. Then they can be colored green and glued onto the globe.
If you or your child hand draw the continents, paint them green within the outlines. Let this part dry.
When everything was dry, we discussed the layers of the earth. Sea, land, crust, mantle and we discussed how the mantle deep in the middle of the globe is molten rock.
To share this idea with younger kids, we crumpled some red construction paper and stuffed it inside our globe.
Labeling the Continents
For children in elementary school grades and older, an extension activity is to label the continents. We did this simply!
I wrote the names of the continents in a list on white paper. My daughter cut them out. Then, she glued them onto the globe.
Just one more layer of learning for this DIY Globe kids can make.
After finishing your DIY globe project, use this unit study that discusses multiple countries and constellations. It is a fun extension activity.
Some great books to read when discussing the layers of the earth and geology are linked from Amazon below.
For books about taking care of the Earth, check out this list of Earth Day books for kids from Homeschool of 1.
Have you started studying the earth and space with your children? What is your approach?