Like most kids, my son is fascinated by animals and doesn’t know much about continents. Since we haven’t had a chance to travel much, the world outside of our town is understandably abstract. So this Montessori Animals of the World activity has been the perfect way to introduce continents.
Through animals that kids know and love, these fun Montessori printables are perfect for preschoolers, kindergarteners, and lower elementary school kids. I created this printable pack in English, Chinese, Korean, our family’s 3 languages!
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Why this Montessori activity is so effective for teaching animals and continents
Relatable context, realistic images, and pattern recognition are important for learning any topic! For consistency, each continent in the Animals of the World Activity is color-coded in standard Montessori colors.
Inspired by Nienhus Montessori, we made a large control page for each of the 7 continents. Each of these reference pages feature 4 relevant animals. So in the whole printable pack, kids can see a total of 28 amazing animals!
As you might imagine, the animals are the true star of the Montessori Animals and Continents activity. This is because the Montessori 3-part animal cards have real, full-color, close-up photos.
Last year, when my son noticed me printing out this Montessori animal activity, he could hardly wait to see all of the Montessori 3-part cards!
Eager to hold the beautiful photographs, this Montessori animal activity got my son chatting up a storm. He asked so many great questions and was curious about matching! And for the first of many times, he asked about the colorful continents.
What are Montessori 3-part cards?
If you’re new to Montessori, 3-part cards are a staple in the mixed age 3-6 year old classroom. The cards are used to teach all types of vocabulary, such as continent and animal names.
- Picture (photo or realistic drawing)
- Label (the picture’s name)
- Control card with picture and label together
Children are encouraged to observe and analyze the pictures. Then, using the control card for reference, pictures are matched to pictures while words are matched to words.
Control cards are a necessary and brilliant tool in an authentic Montessori activity! Because kids can self-check their work, the 3-part cards allow kids to matching independently. In turn, concentration and confidence grows.
As an extra control for this Montessori Animals and Continents activity, I added a colored border to the cards. Because the border color matches the Montessori continent colors, it serves as a visual reminder of where the animal lives.
Three-part cards are also used in Montessori elementary schools (ages 6-9). In general, more details are provided on the back of the control cards for older kids. In the future, I hope to add more information to this printable set.
Download “Montessori Animals of the Continents” printable pack
- English Animals of the World
- Simplified Chinese Animals of the World
- Traditional Chinese Animals of the World
- Korean Animals of the World
Other supplies to use with Montessori animals and continents activity
My son likes to use our Montessori animals and continents activity with our Montessori continents 3-part cards in English, Chinese, or Korean.
Here are other supplies that we recommend using for the Montessori animals and continents printable pack:
- Color printer
- White cardstock paper
- Paper trimmer or scissors
More animal learning resources for kids
- Chinese Zodiac Wheel – Interactive Printable in Chinese and English!
- 我的后面是谁呢? Who’s Behind Me Books
- Animal crafts for kids
How to introduce the Montessori 3-part animal cards
First, you can start with chatting about the animal pictures on the control cards (card with picture and label together).
If your family is bilingual like ours, this is a great chance to encourage minority languages at home. With my children, I try to speak mostly in Mandarin Chinese. So if my son would switch to English, I would recast his sentence and model a reply in Chinese.
We also discussed which animals live on land or water and whether we’ve seen them before, such as at the zoo or in various books about animals.
Through conversation, I could find out what my son already knew and what I would need to teach him.
Also, although the animals from our Montessori printables are paired with a specific continent, we also reviewed the fact that animals can live on other continents with similar habitats.
Now I was ready to show him how to match the Montessori 3-part cards!
Presenting Montessori 3-part animal cards
If your child is not ready to read yet, you can simply focus on picture matching.
Since my son can read a few hundred Chinese characters, he was more than ready to match all 3 parts in our Chinese language version!
In general, I like to start with present 3-4 new concepts (eg, animals) at a time and work our way up. More than that could be too confusing or overwhelming.
However, I always suggest to follow your child and see what they can handle. After the first presentation, my son was way too ecstatic. He wanted to match all of the 3-part animal cards for all 7 continents!
And it’s always amazing to see the magic of the control card and colored border for helping him realize mistakes and self-correct.
Animal and continent translations in Chinese and Korean
For parents who are learning Chinese and Korean with their children, here are translations of each animal in the printable pack!
Words are listed in this order: English / Simplified Chinese / Traditional Chinese (if different) / Hanyu Pinyin / Korean.
- Africa / 非洲 (Fēizhōu) / 아프리카
- Zebra / 斑马 / 斑馬 (Bānmǎ) / 얼룩말
- Hippo / 河马 / 河馬 (Hémǎ) / 하마
- Giraffe / 长颈鹿 / 長頸鹿 (Chángjǐnglù) / 기린
- Lion / 狮子 / 獅子 (Shīzi) / 사자
- Antarctica / 南极洲 / 南極洲 (Nánjízhōu) / 남극 대륙
- Whale / 鲸鱼 / 鯨魚 (Jīngyú) / 고래
- Albatross 信天翁 (Xìntiānwēng) / 알바트로스
- Seal / 海豹 (Hǎibào) / 물개
- Penguin / 企鹅 / 企鵝 (Qì’é) / 펭귄
- Asia / 亚洲 / 亞洲 (Yàzhōu) / 아시아
- Elephant / 大象 (Dà xiàng) / 코끼리
- Rhinoceros / 犀牛 / 犀牛 (Xī niú) / 코뿔소
- Tiger / 虎 (Hǔ) / 호랑이
- Panda / 熊猫 / 熊貓 (Xióngmāo) / 판다
- Australia / 澳洲 (Àozhōu) / 호주
- Wombat / 袋熊 (Dài xióng) / 웜뱃
- Platypus / 鸭嘴兽 / 鴨嘴獸 (Yāzuǐshòu) / 오리너구리
- Koala / 树袋熊 / 樹袋熊 (Shù dài xióng) / 코알라
- Kangaroo / 袋鼠 (Dàishǔ) / 캥거루
- Europe / 欧洲 / 歐洲 (Ōuzhōu) / 아시아
- Bear / 熊 (Xióng) / 곰
- Lamb / 羊 (Yáng) / 양
- Wolf / 狼 (Láng) / 늑대
- Boar / 野猪 / 野豬 (Yězhū) / 멧돼지
- North America / 北美洲 (Běi měizhōu) / 북아메리카
- Eagle / 鹰 / 鷹 (Yīng) / 독수리
- Rabbit / 兔子 (Tùzǐ) / 토끼
- Cow / 牛 (Niú) / 소
- Horse / 马 / 馬 (Mǎ) / 말
- South America / 南美洲 (Nán měizhōu) / 남아메리카
- Armadillo / 犰狳 (Qiú yú) / 아르마딜로
- Flamingo / 火烈鸟 / 火烈鳥 (Huǒ liè niǎo) / 플라밍고
- Jaguar / 美洲豹 (Měizhōu bào) / 재규어
- Tortoise / 乌龟 / 烏龜 (Wūguī) / 거북이
Organizing and displaying Montessori 3-part cards – printable folder
To make the activity attractive and easy to access for my preschooler, I have the 3-part cards organized in matching color envelopes in a tray.
The 3-part cards folder template is included when you purchase the printable pack.
We used this colored cardstock paper so that the folders would match the 3-part cards!
Get the Animals of the World Activity Pack here!
More Montessori geography activities
- Explore Montessori Geography Maps, Books, Activities (English, Chinese, Korean)
- See our detailed review of world globes for kids of all ages
What did your children think of the Montessori animals and continents activities?
If you try these animal and continent activities, please let us know in the comments below!
We’d love to hear about your learning experience!