Map Out Your Community

This project was inspired by Paletero Man, written by Lucky Diaz @theluckyband_ and illustrated by Micah Player @micahplayer. Paletero Man tells the story of a young boy who frolics down the city of Los Angeles on a hot summer day in search of Paletero Jose for an icy treat. On his way, he comes across many other vendors in his wonderful hardworking community.
We've added to the Chill Zone at reDiscover Center! Find this book during your next visit for some community inspiration or follow along this Read Aloud.
The narrator of Paletero Man encounters many people, places, sights, sounds, and smells in his community. What are some of your favorite places to visit and favorite people to see in your community? In this activity guide, we will be making 3-dimensional maps with our favorite community spots and features.


STEP 1 - Gather Your Materials


  • Canary Cutter
  • Screwdriver
  • Scissors
  • Markers
  • Tape
  • Brads
  • Hot Glue Gun & Glue
  • Liquid Glue

These tools, with the exception of markers, can be found in our Tinkering Toolkit.

Making Materials

  • Cardboard
  • Paperboard/flyers/junk mail with fun colors
  • Colored scrap papers and other fun textures like mylar
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Skewers
  • *Optional: Other Creative Reuse Materials like corks, bottle caps, etc.

STEP 2 - Create a sketch/blueprint for mapping out your community

In Paletero Man, we recognize some key parts of our beloved city, Los Angeles. The young boy actually finds Paletero Jose at Echo Park! Echo Park is one of the most popular community parks for Angelenos to visit. For this project, we are going to pick our top 5 places to visit in Los Angeles, or any community/city of your choice.

To help you decide, here's a list of questions you should consider for picking a place to put in your map:

  • What are your favorite nature spots to visit?
    • Examples: Beaches, Mountains, Gardens, Parks, or any other public nature spots you can think about
  • What are your favorite stores?
    • Can be franchises or local businesses.
    • Example: We love to visit the 99c store!
  • What are some iconic buildings or landmarks you love passing by?
    • Near Echo Park in Los Angeles, there's the iconic Bob Baker Marionette Theater.
    • The glorious tunnels that go through Pasadena is always a fun drive.
    • Past Los Angeles, they have windmills harnessing power.
  • What kinds of plants/greenery would you want to add to your community map?
    • Give it some life! What's the weather like? Can we add clouds?
  • Where will the cars travel?
    • Leave room for you to draw some roads!

It helps to list out your answers to the questions above. Then, create a sketch!


STEP 3 - Get a Cardboard Base and Build your 3D Map

Using your sketch as a guide, create a 3-dimensional version of your map using recycled materials such as cardboard, paperboard and other trinkets. Remember the Cardboard Connections from the Boxitecture activity guide? Use these techniques to put your parts together. Explore different textures from picking cardboard apart, ripping paper or using colorful spam mail in unexpected ways, you can create a really exciting map.

STEP 4 - PRO TIP: Add something to the bottom of the base to elevate it

If you use techniques like slotting that goes through the cardboard base, chances are it's going to protrude from the bottom which will make it hard for the base to stand flat. However, if you add something to the corners that elevate it, it will sit flat. Imagine that you're making a table. What can you add to them? Any cardboard construction techniques you can utilize?


For any tips on how to use specific tools safely, visit our Youtube library for Tiny Techniques.


Visit the Techniques tab in reDiscover Center's Pedagogy Resources to access our Tiny Techniques videos and get tips for working safely and efficiently with tools.

Once you have finished your cardboard planes, share it with friends and family. If you want to share a picture on social media, make sure to tag @reDiscoverCtr. We'd love to see yours!

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