Help your campers discover the land of Israel -- at least the edible version! After a brief orientation about the geography and topography of the country, campers will create their own maps of Israel out of ice cream and candy (or veggies or cake or you name it!). The maps will be photographed with their creators, and then everyone will eat their creations.
Number of Campers:
Age of Campers:
Campers will learn how to say 'north,' 'south,' 'east,' 'west' and 'center' in Hebrew
Campers will know the shape and some of the geographic regions of the State of Israel: Galilee, Golan, Center, and Negev (desert)
Campers will be able to locate the following cities on the map of Israel: Haifa, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Be'er Sheva, and Eilat
Stage 1: Build the Map
- Divide the pieces of the puzzle map between the campers, giving each of them as many pieces as possible.
- Explain to the campers that you are going to build the map together but you must do it in silence -- with the exception of being able to speak 5 words: tzafon, darom, mizrakh, ma'arav, and merkaz. Have them repeat the words a few times, and then do a few quick exercises with them. You can identify one part of the field as each of the directions and then either play "simon says" with moving in different directions, or have them just run toward each area. Once you feel that they can remember the directions (with the aid of the giant compass), have them build the map, reminding them that they can only give each other help by using the five Hebrew words (i.e. if someone is holding a piece with Eilat, another camper could tell them "darom" if they didn't know where it went).
- If directions are too hard for younger campers, have them construct the map in silence.
Stage 2: Discover the Map
- Once the map is complete, seat the campers and any staff around it. Ask them what they noticed as they put it together?
- Remind the campers that while this is a huge map, the State of Israel is actually very small:
- It can fit into the state of Wisconsin 8 times
- It is only 263 miles from north to south (i.e. about 4 hours on the highway -- is that further than the distance some people drove to camp?)
- At its narrowest point, it is only 9 miles across
- Have campers point out places they've been (if any) or what they know about places on the map. Israelis or North American staff members who have been to Israel should join in with stories or information about the various places. In the absence of people who have personal experiences in the various locations, you can use the information and pictures provided. You will not be able to paint a picture of all the places on the map, but campers should learn about:
- The desert, forest areas, mountains, and the Dead Sea
- The uniqueness of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Be'er Sheva, and Eilat.
Stage 3: Building Your Own Maps
- Bring the campers into the dining hall or outside (provided that it isn't too hot!). Campers should sit around tables and each small group of 3-4 campers receives a foil tray. Pointing to small maps of Israel, the counselors challenge each group to build a map of Israel using ice cream, candies, and sprinkles. You may want to include:
- chocolate, vanilla, and mint ice cream
- chocolate syrup
- chocolate sprinkles
- Hershey’s kisses
- jelly beans
- green jelly candies
- candy fish
- graham crackers
- Alternatively, you could use sheet cakes with icing, or trays with veggies.
- Counselors distribute scoops of ice cream and campers select colored candies and food coloring as needed to depict the State of Israel. Campers should be reminded that their maps will be judged, so they should make deliberate choices about candy and decorations.
- When all campers’ work is complete, a staff member should photograph each map twice: once by itself and once with its creators.
- The campers then eat their work!
Variations in format
- If this activity is done in a large group, you can stagger the groups who look around the big map and then who make their creations.
- For younger campers, the explanation about the map of Israel should be curtailed and counselors should help with the creation of the candy maps.
- This program can be done as part of a cooking activity.
- You can also create a giant map of Israel with lots of little cupcakes. Campers could work on one area of this edible map by decorating their cupcake.
- While not as delicious, this activity can also be done with art supplies.