This begins our “Rock” theme week!
Gutzon Borglum. Are you familiar with the name?
I’m sure, however, you are familiar with his most well-known sculpture: Mount Rushmore! You can find a short biography of Gutzon Borglum at The National Parks Service. If you find it interesting, consider reading Great White Fathers: The True Story of Gutzon Borglum and His Obsessive Quest to Create the Mt. Rushmore National Monument. Borglum’s art and life were often quite controversial and the book explores this in-depth.
I shared the book Mount Rushmore by Marion Bauer with the girls. The writing is extremely simple, but we learned some new things about when the monument was built, why the presidents were picked, and more!
After the book, we attempted our own “rock sculptures”. Carving rock would take specialized equipment (and probably not be very safe for preschoolers), so we made our own rock!
- Plaster of paris
- Plastic spoon or paint stir stick (to mix the plaster and throw away)
- Small box (we cut off the end of an almond milk box)
- Old spoon, fork, or stick for carving
1) Mix Plaster of Paris according to package directions in your container. It should be the consistency of gravy or pancake batter. Allow to dry for one hour. Do not rinse any of the plaster down the drain!!
2) Tear the container away from the “rock”. I split it into two pieces with a chisel and hammer.
3) Carve a sculpture! (Please supervise at all times!)
The girls mainly scratched figures and designs into the rock. They figured out quickly how challenging and time-intensive it is to carve a sculpture! I would suggest doing this outside as it is very messy.
If you do not have Plaster of Paris available or are unsure about using it with your little ones, an alternative would be to carve a bar of soap. I had a bar from a hotel, so I let my two-year-old work on it!