Geography in the Montessori classroom involves more than just an exploration of the continents. We also introduce children to the Land and Water Forms. In fact, Land and Water forms are one of the first geography lessons your child receives. This simple lesson involves demonstrating how to pour water into two corresponding molds. We introduce the tray on the left as an “Island” and the form on the right as a “lake.” We then have a conversation with the child about what he or she sees. “What do you notice in the middle? Where is the water? Does the water go all of the way around the land?” These questions help the child to make observations and create the definition of an island as “a piece of land surrounded on all sides by water.” We have further discussions about who may live on an island or how we might travel to a piece of land surrounded by water. We ask similar questions about the second form, inquiring, “Where is the land this time? And the water? Does the land go all of the way around the water?” The child can then help define a lake as “a body of water surrounded on all sides by land.”
Later, we introduce children to other land and water pairings, including the peninsula and gulf, isthmus and strait, cape and bay, or archipelagos and systems of lakes. With each new pairing, the child can use his or her observations to create a working definition for that the term, helping it to become a more meaningful part of the child’s vocabulary.
Land and Water Form Activities:
At-home Land & Water forms ages 3 and up
Directions: You will need some clay or playdough and two shallow trays/dishes. If you do not have any playdough, you can make your own with the Make your own Playdough Recipe below. We usually begin by making an Island and a Lake.
- Step 1: Roll or press the clay flat about ¼ inch thick on a tray
- Step 2: Using a plastic (or dull) knife cut out the center to form the lake. (remember lakes are rarely perfect circles - be creative).
- Step 3: Carefully remove the cut out “island” and place it on a separate tray.
- Step 4: Using a small pitcher, slowly pour the water to fill the lake and pour water to surround the island.
- Step 5: Trace the outline of each form with your finger and say its name (lake, island).
- Step 6: Have a conversation with your child about what they notice, helping them to see that an island is “a piece of land surrounded on all sides by water,” and a lake is “a body of water surrounded on all sides by land.”
- Step 7: Clean up
- Step 8: Choose another Land and Water form to create!
Land and Water Form Classified Cards ages 3 and up
Directions: Explore land and water forms using classified cards. These pictures reflect the forms used in the classroom or the ones created in the “At-Home Land and Water Forms” activity.
Classified Cards with labels:
Classified Cards without labels:
Land and Water 3 Part Cards ages 5 and up
Directions: Print and cut the three-part cards. Each form will have a classified card, a printed slip, and a control card (depicting the classified card and its associated slip). Mix up the classified cards and slips. Use your knowledge of the Land and Water Forms to match the slips to the forms. Check your work with the control card.
Land and Water Definition Stages ages 6 and up
Directions: Independently read the definitions for the Land and Water Forms. If desired, match the description to the Control Card found in the 3 part card set. Next, cut out the red Land and Water form Labels. Read the Definition card that is missing the term. Choose the red slip that completes the definition.
Islands of the World ages 6 and up
Directions: Print out the Islands of the World map and the associated arrows. Cut out the arrows that show the name of the islands. Label the islands on the map using the arrows. Use the control chart to check your work.
Lakes of the World ages 6 and up
Directions: Print out the Lakes of the World map and the associated arrows. Cut out the arrows that show the name of the lakes. Label the lakes on the map using the arrows. Use the control chart to check your work.
Down By The Creek Activities:
“Down by the creek” is a song that children simply love to sing! The area around a creek creates a natural home for many plants and animals, including the ones shared in the song. The following activities will help children learn more about what happens down by the creek.
Down By The Creek Song:
I like to go down by the creek.
I sit on a rock and look in the deep.
Tadpoles and salamanders, crayfish and minnows,
whirligigs and water boatmen dance all around.
I like to look into the creek.
A little frog hides in the deep.
Water striders dance on the water.
Yellow leaves gently float down.
Red and green, purple and amber.
Dragonflies and damselflies too.
I see the tracks of somebody’s feet.
A shy raccoon has been to the deep.
Down By the Creek Classified Cards ages 3 and up
Directions: Print and cut the classified cards that depict all of the animals in the song, “Down By the Creek.” Invite your child to admire them. Help the children associate the animals in the song with the pictures on the cards, if needed. If desired, offer a three-period lesson to help your child recall the names of any unknown animals.
Classified Cards with labels:
Classified Cards without labels:
Down By The Creek 3 Part Cards ages 5 and up
Directions: Print and cut the three-part cards. Each card will have a classified card, a printed slip, and a control card (depicting the classified card and its associated slip). Mix up the classified cards and slips. Use your knowledge of the song, Down By The Creek, to match the slips to the photos. Check your work with the control card.
Down By the Creek: A Closer Look ages 3 and up
Directions: The article, “Down By the Creek: A Closer Look,” shares a few fun facts about creeks and the animals that live in the habitat around the creek.
- 3 - 5 years: Parents, please read the article to your children to help them learn facts about life down by the creek. Ask your child to tell you one fun fact they have learned after listening to the information.
- 5 ½ years and up: Children, please read the article independently to learn more about life down by the creek. Write five new facts that you have learned (in your own words) on writing paper. Share your fun facts with your family.
Animal Tracks Coloring Sheet ages 3 and up
Directions: Animals walk around their habitats just as we walk around our homes. Animals leave unique footprints or tracks behind when they walk across soft soil. Color the tracks below and see if you can guess what animal makes each print.