Projects in this Post
Spane is going into 6th grade this fall, so his California Mission project is long over. When I took pictures of the project, I took them on an ancient “dumb” phone, hoping that some day I would be able to retrieve them. When my computer went to the hospital for a new motherboard, it also came back with better bluetooth, and I was able to finally get the pictures off the phone.
If you are a parent with a child going into 4th grade this fall, and you live in California, this is something you are going to have to deal with. California Missions are part of the California State Common Core 4th grade curriculum. There is no getting out of it. But, for crafty parents, that’s a good thing! You might have so much fun that your child may find himself or herself on the sidelines, wishing to take part in the great project. Don’t do that – it’s a great time to spend time with your child, and learn together. You can even take a trip to your closest mission!
Spane came home with a kit his teacher had given him. I opened the box, looked at the directions, and was completely baffled. Then I went to my local Michael’s store, which always has all the stuff needed to make a mission on display. I looked at their kits, too, and decided, for the money, I could build a better mission without a kit. Some supplies I already had, some I went to my local dollar store, and others, like the well, fence and grass I bought at Michaels. I really like working with Styrofoam, because although it’s messy, it also makes excellent structures that can be carved as needed. I looked at some of the existing mission kits to determine about how much I was going to need.
We decided that our mission was not going to be built using one of the existing plans, ours was going to be the Mission of the Imagination (Misión de la Imaginación). We are practicing Catholics, and since the mission was being built during Lent, our chapel would be decorated minimally for Lent. We wanted realism, so I bought stained glass tiles for the windows, sand for the earth, a well, fencing, bells for the bell tower, and to-scale farm animals. I also bought tile for the floor and entrance to the chapel, and glass tile for the roof. Even though the Spanish used brick tile for their missions, I wanted our Mission of the Imagination for have glass tiles. I also bought electric tea lights, and had them on during Back to School night when other parents and children were able to see it.
Spane had a lot of fun doing all the landscaping, including gluing the sand. He also painted the ocean, with fish, and we glued cellophane on it for waves. Spane strung the bells for the bell tower, placed the crucifix, and the fence. I cut the Styrofoam, made the holes for the windows, and put the windows in place.
More About California Missions
- Mission History
- Mission Resource Center
- 21 California Missions and Maps
- Spanish Missions in California (Wikipedia)
- More resources