A Book and a Big Idea: There’s a Map on My Lap

There’s a Map on My Lap! is a Cat in the Hat Learning Library’s beginning reader’s guide to maps. When my son was younger, this book taught him that the world is divided up into countries, counties, states, and cities. He learned about topographic, and terrain, as well as the difference between globes, atlases, and maps.

For the love of picture book, my friends and I have created A Book and a Big Idea. The name speaks for itself. We will share one of our favorite books and a big idea to go along with the book. It could be a craft, a recipe, a printable, anything goes!


Geography is one of my favorite subjects, so naturally I have an affection for anything involving maps and globes. Check out my Ultimate Guide to Geography for more crafts, curriculum, websites and more.  There are so many crafts that you could use to go along with There’s a Map on My Lap, such as these adorable nesting cans, or these very popular graduating cutouts that could represent the universe all the way down to your house.  I wanted to do something a bit more fancy, something that we could proudly display on our wall forever. Something we could actually work on as a family, while incorporating geography.


Looks pretty awesome, huh? This is string art and I absolutely love the way it looks! If you want to be very ambitious, you could do the world, or your country, or your state, like we did. Go Buckeyes!


Step 1: Determine the size that you would like your finished product to be. Ours is 10 inches squared.

Step 2: Print out an outline map of your state and trace the outline onto the wood

Step 3: The nails should be approximately 1/4-inch apart, so use a ruler to carefully guide you as you make dots all along your outline. You will most likely have many twists and turns, so along these parts you’ll have to vary from the 1/4-inch apart rule. Just make sure there is a dot on each of the points of your state outline. The state of Ohio required 174 nails.


Step 4: Time consuming, but fun for boys (and men.) My husband did almost all of the nailing as he is a hunk of muscle and obviously stronger than me. Our son did some too.

Step 5: The fun part!! Tie a tight knot around one corner nail and just start stretching and twisting. Make sure you pull hard and double loop around the nail. Don’t worry about a pattern, it will all come together and look fabulous if you just make sure to go once around every single nail. Go side to side, up and down and diagonally.


Step 6: On your last nail, tie another tight knot and add some glue for good measure.

Step 7: Keep the whole thing away from cats!


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