Using Maps as An Idea for Art Projects


All this week I’ve been doing craft challenges that relate in some way to maps. This was in part inspired by a gift from my sister-in-law of several books related to map making as art. These books are a great jumping off point for talking about maps as art with kids and for creating some artful maps, or art inspired by maps, whether on your own or with your kids. maps as art

You Are Here and The Map as Art

It wasn’t until I sat down to write this that I realized that two of the three books she gave me were by the same author. Katharine Harmon is billed as a principal of Tributary Books and lover of the intersection of words and imagery.

You Are Here: Personal Geographies and Other Maps of the Imagination explores maps that are personal, historical, fanciful, political, beautiful and thought-provoking, often more than a couple of those at once. Essays explore things like how a neighborhood can be defined by maps charting different characteristics (such as who puts out jack o’lanterns on Halloween) and different markers left by hikers on the Appalachian Trail.

The Map as Art: Contemporary Artists Explore Cartography is a modern in its selections, spanning from the 1920s to the present, and featuring artists from Salvador Dali to Jasper Johns, Ai Weiwei to Maya Lin. Again, some of the maps are more literal than others, and its surprising to look and think about what can be considered a map and how these maps represent the artists who created them, and how that might translate into your own creations. All of these are really great discussions and activities for older kids especially.

Make Your Own Map Art map art lab

The third book I received was Map Art Lab: 52 Exciting Art Explorations in Mapmaking, Imagination, and Travel by Jill K. Berry and Linden McNeilly. I think I’ve mentioned my love for the “Lab” series before; all of the books I’ve seen in it are great.

This one is no exception, exploring a range of art-making media and techniques with a wide variety of prompts that will stretch your — and your child’s — thinking about what a map is.

The projects are arranged by theme, including map basics, map magic, flat maps, mixed-media maps, personal maps, cartographic projects and maps inspired by artists. Just a few of the projects include developing legend symbols for your map, making city blocks in plastic and wax, custom constellations, maps collaged onto wooden bowls, mosaic maps, mapping tables as a getting-to-know-you activity, drawing the detours on your personal map, personifying a place (or mapping out a person or pet), making cutouts using maps and a wire map inspired by Alexander Calder, to name a few.

There’s a quick little flip-through video to give you a glance at a few more project.

It would be so fun to do some of these projects while learning about maps, and this book is suited to artists of all ages who might be interested in making their own maps.

Map Unit Study Resources map unit study resources

Build Excitement for a Disneyland Vacation from Crafty Mama in ME

How Maps Change Case study: Boston’s Boundaries over time from Boston Kid Friendly

How Kids Can Create Sketch Maps for the Outdoors from FrogMom

Map Books for Young Explorers from Brain Power Boy

Map Skills for Kids from Schooling a Monkey

Map Books for Children: Intro to Maps from The Jenny Evolution

Continents and Countries Olympic Sort from Planet Smarty Pants

Maps Unit for Preschoolers from Bambini Travel

3 Free Puzzles to Make Learning the Continents Fun from Books and Giggles

Geocaching for Kids from Parenting Chaos

Map Activities for Kids: France, England, Ireland {Printables} from The Natural Homeschool

Travel Maps for Kids from Craft Create Calm

Types of Maps from Soil & Water Conservation District from Something 2 Offer

Around the World Fun for Kids: Exploring Architecture from Artsy Momma

Using Maps as an Idea for Art Projects from Our Daily Craft

Making a Salt Dough Map from Tales of Education at Home

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