Here is a simple, hands-on activity for teaching the layers of the earth. 
We did this just this morning and all the kids enjoyed it.
 
Our earth’s layers are:
The CRUST, the MANTLE, the OUTER CORE and the INNER CORE.
 
So to do this, you’ll need four pieces of play-doh in differing colors.
 
We chose to make the crust out of mixed blue and green to show land and oceans, but you could use whatever you have.
We read and talked about the characteristics of each layer of the earth in yesterday’s science lesson.  So this morning was really just a fun review.
 
As we created each layer, we reviewed their names and properties.
 
Start with the INNER CORE and roll it into a ball. 
Next take the OUTER CORE layer and flatten it a bit before carefully wrapping it around the inner core.
Try to keep the same thickness of play-doh all the way around, trimming off all the excess as you go.  Smoosh the opening together and re-roll into a ball shape again. 
 
Next is the MANTLE, which is the thickest layer of the earth, so you’ll need the largest piece of play-doh for this layer, and you’ll want to leave it nice and thick as you wrap it around the inner and outer cores.
 
 

 
Re-roll the three layered earth ball carefully to work out the wrinkles in the play-doh. 
Now it’s time for the final outer layer, the CRUST.
 
Flatten it out pretty thin, and smash in additional green pieces of land onto it to make some basic continent shapes, and/or some white for the clouds.
 Carefully wrap the crust around the other layers, and smoosh the opening together. 
 Re-roll into a nice ball shape, being careful not to press too hard.
Admire your beautiful earth!
(and give everyone a chance to hold it and carry it around in their hands for a bit.  🙂
 
Now get ready for the fun part–exposing the layers. 
Use a thin paring knife or something similar and help your child make a slice straight down to the center of the earth.
Turn the earth and make one more slice straight down to form a pie slice.
Can you see the layers already peeking out?  (this part is so exciting!)
 
Go ahead now and pull out the slice that you cut to reveal the four layers of the earth!
 
Review one more time by naming and discussing each layer.  Let the kids take the layers apart and put them back together…then let them slice up the rest of the earth because that part is so much fun. 🙂
 
 
That’s it.
What a simple, fun way to remember what we learned!
 
See you soon!
 
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2 thoughts on “Play-doh Layers of the Earth

  1. Crafty Homeschool Mama

    Thanks for stopping over, Jennifer 🙂 And yes, it IS neat, isn’t it! I always say I enjoy our little crafts and activities as much if not more than my children 😀 By the way, got my tags finished and nearly have my pumpkins done from your tutorial and the whole setup looks so great! Contemplating making another for a friend 🙂

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