It’s a rite of passage for fourth-grade students in California; I did it, Jamie did it, and now Max has done it. The California Mission Project.
A+ California Mission Project
When the project packet got sent home last spring, I was surprised to see a “No California Mission Project Kits” rule. While they hadn’t been a thing when I was in fourth grade, I had noticed them at craft stores in recent years and figured that’s how they were done now.
Since we saw that we weren’t permitted to use such a kit, we had to plan our construction from scratch. This post will share lots of photos of Max’s finished A+ project, along with the supplies we used to get it built.
Max chose Mission San Carlos Borromeo del Rio Carmelo, located in Carmel, just a couple hours’ drive from home. We drove down on a sunny Sunday morning and spent a few hours visiting the on-site museums, taking reference photos and planning the project.
Once we returned home, we made a trip to the craft store and placed a couple of Amazon orders to get our supplies together.
The base of the mission is repurposed cardboard; it’s double-thick for stability, but the building itself is pretty simple and held together with hot glue.
Main Mission Building
- Texture Spray Paint
- Roof texture: Corrugated Paper
- Domed tower: Styrofoam egg
- Building trim and crosses: Bamboo skewers and copper wire
- Windows: Black craft paint
We chose a couple of details from the real-life graveyard to focus on; choosing the abalone shells that adorn the graves and then featuring two specific monuments, the larger cross and a larger granite headstone on the other side of the walkway. Max was able to explain the significance of each element that was included. (The large cross is a monument to Native Americans who died, for example)
- Crosses: Bamboo Skewers and decorative shells
- Fence: Wooden Craft Sticks
- Other gravestones: FIMO Modeling Clay
- Padre Junipero Serra statue
- Decorative Moss and sticks from our backyard
California Mission Project Kits
If your school allows store-bought kits, here are some options for you!
Did you build a California mission in fourth grade? I did the Sonoma mission, because my BFF, Mandy, lived right down the street from it. And here’s a bonus for sticking with this post: It’s Jamie and HIS mission, in 1985. <3