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make a cookie dough map

How to Make a Cookie Dough Map!

  |   Curriculum, Hands on Activities, Lesson Plan, Teaching - all grades, Teaching History   |   16 Comments

Your kids will LOVE learning how to make a cookie dough map, especially effective if everyone is ready for a break from the books!

Of course, the anticipation of eventually being able to eat the map is the most exciting part to most students, but the fact is, anytime you can add a hands-on element to school, it is a positive thing! Studies have indicated that hands on learning might be much more effective for many students than the typical textbook-and-lecture approach.

I know, it is a messy endeavor, but that’s part of the fun!

 The recipe below makes several tasty peanut butter-flavored maps.  The recipe yields a few larger or a plethora of smaller maps.

Keep reading after the recipe to see map ideas per historical period!


Recipe for Cookie Dough Map

2 cups smooth peanut butter 2 1/2 cups powdered milk 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar 2 cups white corn syrup Mix all of the ingredients together and put portions on wax paper if you are creating smaller maps,  or want to freeze portions for future small maps.   For one or more large maps, you will need a sturdy cardboard (or perhaps several layers of cardboard glued together) for a base.  You can also use a large plastic cutting board.


Ideas for Decorations

  • blue icing or white icing with blue glitter for lakes and oceans
  • green sprinkles for forested areas
  • cinnamon sugar for deserts
  • chocolate chips for mountain ranges
  • black or red licorice strips for rivers
  • Red Hots for capitals
  • M&Ms for major cities

Don’t forget to make a map key, especially for a large map.


Map Ideas Across History

The following ideas are taken from our unit programs and daily lesson plans corresponding to our historical units:

Ancients (Creation to AD 476)

  • Ancient China, showing the Great Wall and major cities, rivers, deserts and other land forms
  • Roman Empire at its height of influence


Middle Ages (476-1453)
  • Scandinavia and Great Britain, depicting the major cities and routes traveled by raiding Vikings
  • the Mediterranean World as it was during this time, labeling major cities, land forms and trade routes


Renaissance & Reformation (1450-1685)
  • Italy labeling the city-states and their major cities. Include images of their leaders.
  • Europe showing the countries and cities where Protestantism had a foothold. Add images of the leaders of the Reformation.


Colonization (1620-1770)
  • World map showing the triangular slave trade routes between the colonies, the West Indies, Africa and Europe
  • U.S. map of the 13 colonies showing the location of natural resources in each area


Revolutions (1750-1800)
  • U.S. depicting the Revolutionary War’s major battles
  • France showing the battles of the French Revolution


Westward Expansion (1750-1860)
  • U.S. showing Lewis and Clark’s route to and from the Pacific Ocean
  • World map showing the colonies of Great Britain during this period of history


Civil War (1750-1880)
  • U.S. showing the locations of the major battles
  • U.S. depicting the Confederate states and their dates of succession


Immigration (1850-1910)
  • World map showing areas of missionary efforts during this period. Include image of missionaries.
  • World map identifying areas of conflict during this time. (Examples: Boer War, Crimean War, Boxer Rebellion, etc.)


Modern (1910-present)
  • World map – choose WWI or WWII and depict the major battles with dates
  • World map identifying the major religion of different areas
 Make sure you take a picture  of your cookie dough map before it is gone!

Have you ever made cookie maps? Do you think your children would enjoy making and eating them? Tell me about it in the comments!

  • Aliece | May 1, 2016 at 12:56 pm

    I remember doing this as a homeschooling child and LOVED it 🙂

    • Dana | May 2, 2016 at 7:35 pm

      Thank you for commenting, Aliece! <3

  • Billie | Mar 4, 2015 at 2:45 pm

    How long and at what degree do you bake the cookies?

    • Dana Wilson | Mar 27, 2015 at 3:36 pm

      Billie, you just let the dough dry instead of cooking it. Have fun!

  • Andrea | Aug 23, 2013 at 11:49 pm

    We have done this a couple of times with great success using sugar cookie dough. Hershey kisses become large mountains and chocolate chips smaller hills. After learning general geography terms, my kids each created a fictional land, complete with mountains, rivers, islands, a bay, straight, etc. Each element was marked with toothpick flags. Another time we added cities and rivers to our cookie dough state map. Lots of fun to make and eat.

  • ElizaBeth | May 14, 2012 at 9:08 pm

    Love this idea! I’ll be modifying it for our gluten-free, peanut-free home!

    • Dana Wilson | May 14, 2012 at 9:15 pm

      Sounds good, ElizaBeth – if you wouldn’t mind sharing your recipe, I would be happy to post it. We have been working on going gluten-free for awhile but haven’t around to these non-essentials yet. 🙂

  • Kelly Rowe | Mar 21, 2012 at 3:19 am

    We really like the cookie dough map idea! This is one to use over and over. My little ones were so exicted about it! Thanks so much for the idea.

  • Tracey M. | Mar 15, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    I absolutely LOVE this activity!!!! I saw something similar on another website while researching Ancient Egypt. She used sugar cookies but this seems easy and the recipe sounds yummy. I want to make Ancient Egypt cookies with my daughter but we’ll have to do it next week. We might use crushed graham crackers to represent the Sahara Desert and butterscotch chocolate chips to represent the pyramids of Giza. I was thinking blue licorice, blue icing, or blue sour patch strips (not sure what they are called) for the Nile River. I am still jotting down my ideas. Alyssa will love doing this and helping me bake. Thank you for sharing!

  • Patricia | Mar 14, 2012 at 11:58 am

    Wow! What a great idea! My kids will love this! I wonder..use gingerbread cookie cutters and decorate people according to country or time period that you are studying. We WILL do this. Thanks for sharing:)

    • Dana | Mar 14, 2012 at 4:11 pm

      Yes, Patricia, there is nothing like a little cookie dough to liven things up a bit. 🙂 That is a great idea about using gingerbread cookie dough to make and decorate people according to country/time period!

  • Kodi | Mar 14, 2012 at 12:07 am

    My girls would love this! We are studying deserts right now, and I am wondering if we could use this to show where the deserts are around the world. I will have to think on that and give it a try! Thank you for the reciepe!

  • Pam | Mar 13, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    This is a cute idea that I am sure my kids will love (and mom too yum yum)!

  • Teresa | Mar 13, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    Love this idea!! My five y/o would definitely enjoy making this while we read our history!!

  • Cynthia Carlson | Mar 13, 2012 at 9:24 pm

    A cookie dough map sounds much more appealing than a salt map (which I have had terrible success with)!

  • Jean | Mar 13, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    I really like this idea! I usually avoid messy crafts, but you really made this one sound fun! I like the recipe, and I appreciate the decorating ideas. I would not have thought of them – how fun!

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