I love how Montessori encourages using hands-on materials for learning. Geography material can be abstract for a child, but it doesn't have to be! I am going to share with you several fun concrete activities for learning all about Montessori animals and continents.
Hands-On Schleich Animals
Children love hands-on animal figurines that they can examine in their hands. We love the Schleich animal figurines because they are high quality and look realistic. They have a good weight to them and feel delightful when you hold them. These animal figurines tend to be pricey... so we have collected these animals over several years. Another idea is to request them as gifts at Christmas or birthdays.
We store our Schleich animals in boxes with labels for the various continents. These boxes were bought from IKEA. The labels were cut from construction paper to match the Montessori continent colors found on the Montessori globe and continents puzzle.
Fabric Map with Felt Montessori Continents
Below is a beautiful map with colored felt continents overlaying the map continents. These two pieces work really well together. I found this fabric map of the world at Joann Fabrics and the Montessori felt map of world continents on Etsy. The cut out felt continents do not match up perfectly with the fabric map, but it's close enough for me. Another homeschooling mother tediously cut out each of the continents from the fabric map to create a perfect match. That is too much work for me at this time, but it is a more affordable option if you are looking for one.
Matching Work for Montessori Animals and Continents
After collecting animal figurines and setting up a large map, you can invite your child to match the animals to the correct continent. This is a lovely hands-on learning opportunity, as you and the child work together, to learn where each animal lives.
The child doesn't need to match all the animals at once. It actually may be too confusing for the child if you introduce too many animals at once. Start with 4-5 animals that match one continent and work up from there as your child shows interest. You can also read books about the habitats of the animals who live on each continent. Also, discuss how some animals can live on more than one continent because the habitat is similar.
DIY Sensory Habitats
A wonderful hands-on activity, to teach a child about the habitats that the animals live in, is to create a habitat sensory bin. The photo below is a sensory bin for our African animals who have come to visit a watering hole. My 3 year old LOVED this activity! You can visit - 3 Habitats for more sensory bin ideas.
Miniature Animal Figurines - Safari TOOBs
If storage or price of the Schleich animals is preventing you from purchasing them, there is another option with miniature animal figurines. I personally love the Safari TOOBs for miniature animal figurines because they are high quality and painted beautifully. You can use these miniature animals to match to a Montessori continent puzzle, cards, or printed maps of the continents. I am going to list my favorite Safari TOOBs for you to explore. 🙂
- *African Village
- River TOOB
- Endangered Land Animals (Includes panda and gorilla)
- Monkey and Apes
- Dolphins and Whales
- Exotic Birds
- Coral Reef
- *Rainforest (South America)
- *North American Wildlife
- Nature TOOB
- *The Land Down Under (Australia)
I starred (*) the TOOBs that have plenty of animals for their specified continent. Unfortunately, you have to piece together Asia and Europe. I have listed several TOOBs above that you can use to put together animals for Asia and Europe. You may also need one more TOOB for Africa.
Visit - Montessori Inspired Penguin Unit
Montessori Animals and Continents Printable Bundle
This Montessori continents printable bundle includes 10 animals for each continent. The featured animals are real isolated images in full color. I have even added several extra animals for the continents at the end of the bundle. I will also continue to update this collection of animals and add more as the images are available from the original clipart artist. Each continent is color coded per Montessori standards and the cards are also color coded to match the continent color. This is a gorgeous bundle of animals from all over the world! Don't miss it!
Visit my Teachers Pay Teachers shop to purchase this amazing bundle! Click the link below:
Also, included is a separate set of "Arctic Circle" animals.
- Montessori Continent Cards - Africa, North America, South America, Asia, Australia (Oceania), Antarctica, Europe, (plus the Arctic Circle)
- 10 Animals for Each Continent - Color Coded Borders to Match Continent Cards
- Extra Page of Animals to Add In
- Continents on the Globe Cards (Color Coded Borders and Black Borders)
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