Montessori Animals and Continents activities have been very intriguing for my son! I’m happy to share these beautiful free printables with you in Chinese, Korean, and English, our family’s 3 languages!
My son is obsessed with animals and our giant Montessori felt world map, so he could hardly wait for me to set up these Montessori 3-part cards! He was eager to see the pictures, talk about animals, and start matching!
I hope your children can enjoy learning about animals and continents as well!
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Animals and continents introduction sheet
So far, our kids have not had the chance to travel beyond our state of California, so the concept of continents is pretty abstract.
Since my son is super-obsessed with animals, learning about where they naturally live in the world has been a fun and effective way to introduce continents!
Relatable context is important for learning any topic! Hence, our printable animals and continents introduction sheet (inspired by Nienhus Montessori) gives a preview of this connection!
More animal learning resources for kids
- Chinese Zodiac Wheel – Free Interactive Printable in Chinese and English!
- 我的后面是谁呢? Who’s Behind Me Books
- Animal crafts for kids
- Wink to Learn Animal Videos in Mandarin Chinese
What are Montessori 3-part cards?
Montessori 3-part cards are generally used in the primary school years (ages 3-6) 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
The goals are to encourage observation and analysis of a picture. Then, using the control card for reference, pictures are matched to pictures while words are matched to words.
Control cards are a key component of Montessori education! Because kids can self-check their work, 3-part cards encourage kids to complete matching independently. In turn, concentration and confidence grows!
For these Montessori animals and continent printables, I added a colored border for each animal.
The border color intentionally matches the Montessori continent colors which serves as a visual reminder of where the animal lives.
Three-part cards are also used in the elementary school years (ages 6-9). Definitions are often provided on the back of the control cards for more learning. In the future, I hope to add more information to this printable set.
How I introduced the Montessori 3-part animal cards
First, we chatted about the animal pictures on the control cards (card with picture and label together).
Since we try to encourage minority languages at home, we spoke mostly in Mandarin Chinese. 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 printables are paired with a certain continent, it’s important to explain to our kids 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 the Montessori 3-part cards
If your child is not ready to read yet, you can simply focus on picture matching.
Since my son can read about 200 Chinese characters, he was more than ready to match all 3 parts!
Typically, you would present 3-4 animals at a time and and work your way up. More than that could be too confusing or overwhelming.
However, always follow your child! My son wanted to do animals for all 7 continents from the get go!
It was amazing to see the magic of the control card and colored border for helping him realize mistakes and self-correct.
How I introduced the Montessori 3-part continent cards
Since the names of the continents were challenging for my son to remember, so far, we have mainly focused on picture matching and verbally reviewing the continent names.
When my daughter used these 3-part cards a few years ago, she was already comfortable with naming the continents. Therefore, she was ready to do continent name matching.
However, for my son, the 7 continents will be more meaningful and easier to remember over time! The consistent colors are definitely helpful!
Animal and continent translations in Chinese and Korean
For parents who are learning Chinese and Korean with their children, here are the translations of the animals we included!
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
What you need for Montessori animals and continents activities
- Free printables in SC, TC, Korean, and English in the Printables Library for Subscribers (check the geography section)
- Introduction to animals and continents sheets
- Animals of the world 3-part cards
- Montessori continents 3-part cards
- If you have not yet subscribed, please click here!
- Color printer (the one we have is no longer sold, but this printer and this printer have high reviews)
- White cardstock paper
- Paper trimmer or scissors
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.
You can download the 3-part cards template in the link below and use it with other Montessori 3-part cards from our website!
We used this colored cardstock paper so that the folders would match the 3-part cards!
Recommended world globes
See our detailed review of world globes for kids of all ages here!
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!
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