South Dakota is home to one of our nation's treasures, Mount Rushmore. The stunning monument showcases four of our most influential presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. Towering 500 feet off the ground, the 60-foot long presidential faces are carved into a granite mountainside, creating one of the most recognizable landmarks in America. Whether you plan to visit the monument or are just teaching some American history, your kiddo is sure to enjoy crafting his own version of this masterpiece.
Get Crafty with Coins
How convenient is it that all four of the Mount Rushmore presidents are also on coins? Help your tot create an impression by arranging the coins face down on a piece of white paper in the reverse order they appear on the mountain (left to right: penny, dime, nickel and quarter.) Tape the coins to the paper, flip over and gently rub over the coins with a crayon; help cut the paper into the shape of the mountain for an easy craft. For a three dimensional version, have your child draw the mountain first then glue the coins onto the mountain. Or she can glue the coins in place and paint them and the mountain to look like granite. Supervise this craft at all times, as coins are choking hazards.
Mount Rushmore Mask
Sure, you may dream of your child being president one day, but why not add her mug to Mount Rushmore now? Photocopy or print pictures of the four presidential faces and cut them out, allowing your child to color the faces. Cut the center out of a paper plate and glue two presidential faces on either side of the plate -- Washington and Jefferson on the left, and Roosevelt and Lincoln on the right -- leaving the blank paper plate in the center. Attach a thick craft stick to the bottom of the plate for a handle, and your tot can now poke her beautiful face through the hole and become part of the mountain.
For a hands-on three-dimensional craft experience, help your kiddo mold a sculpture to look like the monument. Start with a large lump of clay or play dough and shape it to look like the mountain. Add four head-shaped balls to represent each president and help your kiddo etch faces into the clay with a dull pencil. Sure, the craft may not have the fine detail of the actual mountain but your kiddo is sure to enjoy the process anyhow. For those kids who wish to add more detail, try pressing the face side of each coin into the clay to create an impression of the presidential faces.
If you are planning a trip to see the great mountain, having your child create a collage can be a fun way to prepare. Show pictures of Mount Rushmore and have her draw her best likeness, or provide a photocopy for her to cut out and glue on construction paper. Cut pictures from magazines of things she might see at the monument like trees and wildlife. Paste all the pictures together on the collage, and take it along to play I-spy with the items she chose. Older kids may be able to select pictures with little help, while younger children may just enjoy pasting the pictures. The collage is still a good learning experience even if a visit is not in the works.
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