Globes are fine educational materials as they are but letting children make one themselves can be an even better learning experience. Because this is a very hands-on activity, it makes for the perfect opportunity for kids to at least pick up a thing or two about Geography and other related topics without having to force them to do so. However, this is a little tricky for little kids to make on their own so carefully guide them through these instructions.
- Find a sphere you can use like a worn-out old basketball or a Styrofoam one which you can purchase cheaply from stores. You can also make it yourself with the papier-mâché technique using a balloon, a few strips of news paper and glue. For this, let the balloon act as the sphere’s scaffolding while you layer strip after strip of paper with glue to its surface. You can just pop the balloon inside after you’re finished and once you have your sphere, measure its circumference and note it for the next step.
- Search for a paper globe pattern online. Choose the type which looks like a ripped up map with several surf board-shaped sections. There are lots of websites offering free copies of this and all you have to do is download and print them to the size of the globe you’re making. You will get this as a whole image so adjust this to fit your sphere. Use the circumference as the image’s length and then half this measurement for the width.
- Print the image on a nice, thick yet bendy sheet. Opt to have it in full color but gray-scale should work out just as well. You can also try it in sepia for an old world feel to your globe. But if you’re not feeling too sure about the accuracy of your measurements, try printing the image out with just the outlines visible on a scrap paper first and then put the sheet against the sphere. Hold the image’s top and bottom edge to the ball’s north and south pole respectively, checking to see that both ends reach the points just right. Adjust your image as needed. After you’ve done so, proceed with printing the pattern in its actuality.
- Once you have your pattern printed out to the exact measurements, individually cut the sections. Do not forget to note the order of the sections to avoid them getting mixed up into a confusing jumble. Later, take one section and glue it onto the ball beginning from one end tip to the other. Smooth it down then do the same with the rest of sections but do make sure that they don’t have gaps in between them.
You can make the project more hands-on for older kids by letting them
paint the globe’s surface themselves and have them label the continents
and some of the countries on their own. You can also turn it into a game
to make it more interesting for them but try making a stand for the
globe before you do so to keep it from getting damaged.