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Elementary Art Lesson Plan: Papa Please Get Me the Moon

By Donna Cosmato

This art lesson is based on a children's book by Eric Carle. In the story, a little girl begs her father to get her the moon, and he does. In these elementary art lessons, the children make their own moons and stars for ornaments.

Teacher Lesson Plans Overview

This elementary art lesson plan takes about 45 minutes to complete. Safety caution: This craft involves cooking and using a hot oven and should be performed with adult supervision. This lesson builds on and reinforces prior lessons from the Eric Carle books series like understanding the phases of the moon and setting and achieving goals.

The following skills are taught and developed in this art lesson:

  • Gross and fine motor skills
  • Following oral directions
  • Reading and following a written recipe
  • Hand to eye coordination

Art Projects Supply List

Basic Salt Dough Recipe

This recipe makes approximately one and one-half cups or enough for seven students. It is easily doubled and by increasing the amounts teachers incorporate a mini-lesson on adding fractions and figuring proportions into the art lesson. The children learn math skills by helping measure the ingredients, and science skills when blending them.

The following supplies are needed for this art lesson:

  • One package plastic drinking straws
  • Cookie cutters in moon and star shapes
  • One package of waxed paper
  • Baking sheets
  • Plastic knives
  • ¾ cup of white whole wheat flour (self-rising flour will not work)
  • 2/3 cup of salt
  • ¾ cup of cornstarch
  • 2/3 cup of water, plus an extra two or three tablespoons

Teacher note: the sample recipe was made with white whole wheat flour, which is a drier flour than bleached white flour, and requires more moisture to form a smooth dough ball. If this recipe is made with bleached enriched white flour, start by adding 1/3 cup of water, and add additional water as needed.

Elementary Art Lessons Preparation

Measure and put the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Let children take turns sifting and rubbing these ingredients with their fingers to combine.

Measure and add the 2/3 cup water to the dry mix all at once. Mix with a wooden spoon, and invite children to take turns stirring the dough. The dough becomes easier to handle as the dry ingredients absorb the water. If dough will not stick together, sprinkle some additional water over the top to moisten. (Humidity and geographic altitude affect the water to flour proportion, so adjust the recipe as needed for best results.)

Scrape the dough onto a piece of waxed paper which has been sprinkled with flour. Form a dough ball and knead gently, then demonstrate to the children how to knead – press down with heels of hands, fold the dough over on itself, and press down with hands. Let each child measure out two tablespoons of dough and let them practice kneading the dough.

Encourage them to pat and flatten the dough. Using moon and star-shaped cookie cutters, the kids make salt dough shapes. If the dough dries out and is hard to work with, advise the children to dip their fingers into a little water, and then sprinkle it on the dough.

Plastic knives help lift the shapes if the dough sticks to the waxed paper. Use a plastic straw to poke a hole in the top of the shapes – this is used to hold a piece of string so the shapes can be hung up. Show the children how to use a pencil to trace their initials on the back of the salt dough shape.

Place the salt dough cut-outs on baking sheets and place in an oven preheated to 200 degrees. Bake the salt dough for three hours. Baking salt dough makes it stronger, and the shapes last longer and do not become moldy.

Wrapping up the Art Projects

The finished moons and stars can be decorated with markers, paint, or art materials like glitter or stickers. Help the child insert a string into the hanging hole and tie the ends into a knot. Hang the shapes in the windows or around the classroom to display the children’s artwork.

By the end of this elementary art lesson plan, the children have learned to follow a recipe and make simple dough. They created hand-made moons and stars and decorated them. This multi-sensory art lesson encourages the children to express their feelings and thoughts about the reading material - Papa Please Get Me the Moon by Eric Carle.