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Kids Map Art – A Creative Learning Activity

by Jean Van't Hul
March 27, 2017

Kids Map Art - Paint a Wooden Map

Hi! My name is Leslie and I usually blog over at Pink Stripey SocksToday I’m so happy to share this lovely kids map art project with you.  (Thanks Jean for inviting me to stop by!)

We love painting on paper.  But sometimes it’s nice to mix things up a bit and try painting other things.

Have you ever tried painting wood?  It’s a great inexpensive alternative.  You can take a walk outside and collect sticks, twigs, or stumps to paint.  Or, you could also visit your local thrift store for old wooden items like toys and frames.

During a recent visit to our local thrift store, I found a wooden map.  It showed the United States of America but was missing all of its pieces, making it useless for puzzle play.  But, I bought it anyway.  It was the perfect canvas for making some collaborative process art while also learning about our 50 states.

Kids Map Art in Progress - Decorating a Wooden Map

Kids Map Art – Paint A Wooden Map

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*If you don’t have a wooden map puzzle, you can decorate a paper map. You can also decorate other unpainted wooden items like toys or wood frames.

Kids Map Art in Progress - Decorating a Wooden Map


Step 1 :: Clean the wood.

Use a wet cloth and clean off your wooden item. (Optional: You can also sand it a bit if you want.) Let dry. This will help the art materials adhere to your wood.

Step 2 ::  Prepare Your Space.

Cover your work space.  (You’ll see from my photo that I didn’t at first.  But then I soon covered the table once we got in a groove.)

You’ll also want to assemble your art materials. So grab your watercolors, brushes, oil pastels, Sharpie markers, and chalk markers!

Kids Map Art in Progress - Decorating a Wooden Map

Step 3 :: Decorate Your Map.  

It’s time to get creative with your art materials! Draw and paint over the states or countries.

(Something to keep in mind while doing this project is that some materials will react with water.  Sharpies and oil pastels should stay vibrant and untouched.  But chalk markers may smear a bit when mixed with watercolors.)

Kids Map Art on a Thrifted Wooden Map

My son and I worked together on painting and drawing. Aren’t the final results lovely?

Step 4 :: Protect Your Map Art. 

If you’d like to keep your artwork for a longer period of time, spray it with fixative.  This will prevent the oil pastels and chalk markers from smearing.  Don’t use Mod Podge.  We tried it and it smeared our chalk markers.

Kids Map Art on a Thrifted Wooden Map

Yay!  Now you have a lovely and unique piece of wooden map art.  I hope you have a fun time trying out this project with your kids.  Happy making, friends!

Leslie from Pink Stripey Socks About the Author

Leslie is a SAHM of two boys.  She loves painting, doughnuts, and the color yellow.  You can find her over at her blog,  Pink Stripey Socks.  There she shares tons of easy and colorful ways for families to create and connect with kids.

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Kids Map Art - A Creative Learning Activity

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