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DIY Geography Montessori Materials

Aug 29, 2023 | curriculum, DIY resources, Geography, Handmade, Montessori, Tales and Trails

Wish you had access to Montessori resources without the price tag? 

There are lots of things that I love about the Montessori method, particularly the hands-on, sensorial approach to learning. However if you were to buy Montessori items, the price tag soon adds up. Luckily, most things are relatively easy to make on a budget. In this blog I’ll show you how I made:

A sandpaper globe

A world map puzzle

A pin-it style map

Related: Exploring Geography Through Folktales (curriculum)

Montessori Inspired Globe

 

Supply list

  • Globe
  • PVA glue
  • Play sand
  • Acrylic paint in blue, green, white, yellow, brown, red, orange, pink
  • Cotton buds

Method

1. Source a globe. You could try searching on Facebook marketplace, gumtree or keep an eye out in charity shops (thrift stores). You may even have luck posting on a local Facebook group to see if anyone has one there no longer using. I used an old, cracked one and first glue-gunned the cracks.

2. Using blue acrylic, paint all the ocean area. Then leave to dry

3. You may find lying the globe on its side easier for this part. Working on small areas at a time, apply a generous amount of PVA glue to a land area and then sprinkle sand on to the glue. With your way around the globe, covering each continent with glue and sand. Using a damp cotton bud or the corner of a cloth, remove any sand/glue that is not where it’s supposed to be. Leave to dry. Once dry, check each of the continents to see if any patches need a top up of glue/sand. Leave to dry. I focused on the main land masses and didn’t add sand to the majority of the islands.

4. Using acrylic, paint the sand (plus any islands) on each of the continents the colours of your choice. I used the Montessori colours which are as follows:

Africa – green, Antarctica – white, Asia – yellow, Australasia – brown, Europe – red, North America – orange, South America – pink

5. Once dry, check if you need to do any touch ups. In hindsight, I should have added another coat to mine!

DIY homemade montessori sandpaper globe, montessori world map, diy pin-it map

Montessori Inspired World Map

 

Supply list

  • Two large pieces of corrugated cardboard

  • World map template

  • Tape 

  • Pencil, preferably a soft one e.g. 2B

  • Stanley knife

  • Cutting mat

  • Acrylic paint in blue, green, white, yellow, brown, red, orange, pink

Method

1.Print out the map template and tape together if necessary

2. On the back of the world map template scribble over all of the outline (hold up to a window or use a lightbox if you’re having difficulty seeing the outline)

3. Flip the map back to the printed side up and place onto one of the pieces of cardboard. Clip in place. Draw over the outline, pressing relatively hard but not so hard that you damage the cardboard. This should transfer the outline onto the cardboard.

4. Using a stanley knife and cutting mat, carefully cut out all the continents. I did not cut out any of the islands.

5. Paint the main frame blue, and the continents in your chosen colours. I used the Montessori colours which are as follows:

Africa – green, Antarctica – white, Asia – yellow, Australasia – brown, Europe – red, North America – orange, South America – pink

Add the biggest islands on to your main frame in the relevant continental colour.

6. Using a glue gun or other strong glue, glue the main frame onto the second piece of cardboard

7. Make a small hole in each of your continents. Glue 2cm of small diameter dowel (or stick from the garden, as I did!) into each hole.

DIY homemade montessori sandpaper globe, montessori world map, diy pin-it map

Montessori Inspired Pin-It Map

Supply list

  • A cork tile or small cork pin board
  • Print out of desired continent, or world map (I used google maps)
  • PVA glue
  • Cocktail sticks
  • Paper to make into labels
  • Print out of a control map (i.e. target features labelled)
  • Marker pens in different colours

Method

1.Find a map that suits your requirements. I searched my criteria on Google Images to find one that I liked. You will want it to be unlabelled, and could choose whether you want it to be a physical map only, or to include country boundaries. Print it out at the scale that will fit your cork.

2. Carefully PVA the map to your cork

3. Make small dots on the places you want your child to find (e.g. rivers, biomes, mountain ranges, countries, capitals – if you want to include more than one thing from this list, consider having colour coded dots, e.g. blue for rivers, red for countries).

4. Cut small strips of paper for your labels that are twice the length you want them to end up (mine were approximately 7cm x 1.5cm, to end up as 3.5cm x 1.5cm). Fold each strip in half and write the name of a place corresponding to one of your map dots. Glue the folded strip onto a cocktail stick, so that the stick is at the centre fold, and the paper becomes stuck to itself. I found a spot of hot glue to attach the paper to the stick, plus PVA to stick the folded paper together worked well. Repeat so that you have labels for all your dots. If you have colour coded your dots, make sure your label colours match.

5. Set out the map, labels, plus a control map for your child to work on.

I obviously wasn’t paying attention when I took this picture as I’ve put completely the pin in the wrong country!

When I made our African map, I printed out a map with just the physical geography. I then traced country borders onto a clear plastic sheet (laminating pouch) that I can clip on if we’re focusing on the countries. I found that not having the country borders made it easier to see features like the rivers, and begin to show that country borders are a recent construct!

Incorporating the resources in learning

Once you’ve finished making a beautiful handmade resource, you could simply leave it out somewhere for your child to discover and explore. Once they have had a chance to play with it on their own terms you could try:

  • Comparing the Montessori sandpaper globe to the  Montessori world map
  • Pairing with a set of Montessori continent cards (I downloaded a free set from Every Star is Different – need to sign up to the newsletter)
  • Play a game asking your child to find a continent that is North/East/South/West of another continent, or the country where you live
  • If a country/continent is mentioned in a book, documentary, movie, podcast etc. encourage your child to find it on the map/globe or the pin-it map

We mostly use ours in conjunction with the Tales and Trails curriculum, which explores the world through story while interweaving all other subjects.

Kindle your child’s spark for learning today

Kindle your child’s spark for learning today