Explore our globe in greater detail by making a magnetic tile Earth with printable stickers. A great activity for Earth Day – or any time you want to study geography with kids!
Always open to new ideas, we noticed recently that some magnetic tile sets come with stickers for creating specific constructions. While we value the toy for its open-ended possibilities, the idea of printing our own stickers for a specific build has its own appeal.
The kids can play with them for as long as they want, and the stickers can be easily removed afterward. With the Earth in mind, the idea of an activity that gets more use out of an old toy and only creates recyclable/compostable waste seems particularly suitable.
This year, for Earth Day, we decided to make a magnetic tile Earth. It is a quick and suitable craft to celebrate the day with young builders, but it can also work any other day of the year you are talking about Earth, maps, or physical geography.
How to Make a Magnetic Tile Earth
Watch a video for a quick tutorial!
We laid out temporary lines of longitude and latitude on our shapes as a drawing guide and then used Google Earth to faithfully render the landforms, making the finished design as close as possible to the real Earth, only very small and a bit lumpy. Now all you have to do is print it out!
Print out the designs – they fit on two sheets of paper and scale 100% the size of all compatible magnetic tiles.
Once the shapes are cut, use a glue stick on the paper shapes and adhere them to the tiles. You can try some other type of adhesive, but we found that a glue stick held them just the right amount. They stayed put while building but came off easily when we were done with the project. You may have to wash and dry the tiles to remove all the residue, but after that, they will be good as new.
Solve the Earth Puzzle
Now, it’s time to assemble the Earth. Children can attempt to figure out the correct position of the tiles themselves and solve the Earth puzzle or follow the provided layout image of the Northern and Southern hemispheres as their guide.
After the tiles are laid out in the right order, close the gaps to add depth to the hemispheres. We found it easiest to turn the tiles over, designs facing down, then pulled the edges up and connected them.
Once the hemispheres are formed, hold them carefully in your cupped hands and put them together, lining up the continents that cross the equator. The whole assembly will be strong enough to handle, but like all magnetic tile constructions, you won’t want to play catch with it.
Benefits of Building the Earth Puzzle
Children can benefit from this activity in a variety of ways.
- Cutting, sorting and manipulating the shapes is a great fine-motor exercise.
- Following the provided image to assemble the Northern and Southern Hemispheres is a puzzle that uses shape recognition, counting, and mental rotation.
- Assembling the tiles into their final globe form requires planning and careful manipulation.
- The assembled globe can be used for discussing Earth’s continents, ecoregions and landforms, as well as their simplified representation on maps.
- Feel free to build on the project by writing or drawing whatever names and delineations add to your study of the Earth!
What You Get With This Project
The Magnetic Tile Earth PDF file features:
- 14 full-colour printable stickers that are scaled to fit all compatible magnetic tiles: Magna-tiles, Connetix, Picasso Tiles, Shape Mags, etc. The stickers print out in the pattern that they will be adhered and assembled in.
- Instructions and a separate layout page are also provided. It’s optional – don’t bother with it if you want a tougher puzzle!
- There are no borders, place names, or lines of demarcation on this globe – it is our planet depicted as a natural object.
More Activities to Celebrate Earth
Learn about our amazing planet, while playing Earth Trivia, a printable educational game for kids!
Learn about endangered animals, threats to their survival and ways to protect them – with Endangered Animal Guess Who board game!
Thanks for reading! If you are on Instagram, tag me @adventureinabox to show your colouring results!