A common element in paintings and nature scenes, mountains exist on every continent and even beneath oceans. Get your children or students interested in these intriguing geological forms by creating mountain crafts. Following up a classroom lesson on mountains with crafts will not only help kids visualize the different types of mountains such as volcanoes and their specific features, but is also an effective way of showing them how mountains are created.
Show children how mountains are created by tectonic plates pushing into each other with "dough continents." This craft is ideal as a classroom activity or if you've more than one child.
The class is divided into two teams and each gets a pound of playdough. Homemade playdough works well because it is often softer and more malleable than commercial varieties. Many simple recipes using inexpensive common household ingredients are available at FamilyEducation.com. An inedible version works best.
Each team molds a "continent" out of their playdough. When finished, the children in each team should slowly push their continents together so that the edges buckle and squish up into mountains. Let the mountains dry and allow the children to paint them.
Bear Went Over the Mountain
Teach your child "The Bear Went Over the Mountain," a song about a bear that travels up a tall mountain to see the other side. Help your child improve his visualization skills and encourage his creativity by recreating the bear's journey.
The child draws and colors bears on cardstock before cutting them out. These bears can be grizzlies, polar bears, panda bears or any bear he likes. Glue a paperclip to the back of each bear as your child colors a mountain backdrop onto cardstock. Make the mountains 3-D with toothpick and tissue paper trees, gravel for land and cotton balls for clouds. Encourage your child to make the sides of his mountains very different from each other. Use cardboard triangles on the back of each mountain scene as supports so the mountains stand. Give your child a weak magnet and let him glue it to the stick. With the bear on the front of the scene and the magnet on the back, he can make his bears travel over the mountains.
Mountain Glitter Globes
This craft teaches your children or students about different kinds of mountains in different parts of the world. Since this project deals with glass containers and fine details, it is more appropriate for older children or teens.
Make a list with your students of the different kinds of mountains such as arctic mountains, volcanoes, forested mountains, plateaus and oceanic mountains. Have each student write down a different kind of mountain on a slip of paper, mix them in a bag and have each student choose a mountain at random to determine what kind of snow globe he will make.
Give each student a clean, empty baby food jar and self-hardening modeling clay appropriate for their mountain. Each student should sculpt their mountain from clay, adding as much detail as possible. Let the clay harden overnight and have them glue their scenes to the underside of their jar lids. Fill each jar halfway with water and sprinkle in some glitter for "snow"—silver for arctic mountains, red for volcanoes, and so on. Screw the lids onto the jars and seal them with hot glue.