Montessori-Inspired Geography Activities for Preschoolers — Teaching Land and Water Forms

If you’ve been following along on Instagram, you know that we’ve been working on a Montessori continent study for the past several months.  It just seemed like a natural fit after we finished our solar system study — Montessori starts with the biggest concepts and works its way down to the smaller aspects, so we started with the whole solar system, then studied the planets, and finally focused on Earth.  Before we got even more focused on each continent, I wanted to pause a bit with the various land and water forms that are found on Earth.  I found an awesome free printable from Every Star is Different to use with our study — you can find it here: Earth Unit with Free Printables

Each photo of a land or water form comes with a corresponding card describing its features.  An older child who can read could match them together.  For our purposes, I just showed L the photo card and read the description to her myself.  I showed her two at a time each day, and I sculpted models out of playdoh to make it a bit more concrete.

When I presented each model with the cards, I did a 3 period lesson.  First I pointed to each and said, “This is a mountain.  This is a valley.”  Then I said, “Point to the mountain.  Point to the valley.”  Finally, I pointed to each and said, “What is this?  What is this?”

These lessons were geared more toward L’s age (3 years old), but N was pretty into it, also.  She especially loved exploring the 3-D models.

Trust me, I am not a sculptor — but these models were really easy to make!  I just took the bottom of a leftover container and used that as the base.  I chose two of the land and water forms to model that would work reasonably well together, and used green (for land) and blue (for water) playdoh to make them.  Then I put the bottom of the container on to keep it from drying out overnight.  We learned about those forms at Circle Time, then that night I would prepare the next two.  You can totally do it yourself.  If you’re even more artistically-inclined, you could make more permanent versions using air-dry clay for the land forms and then using real water for the water forms.


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