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Once your child has mastered the Montessori continent globe, it’s time to introduce the continents as a map. You can buy a wooden one, or you can make your own for far less money out of felt. While I ultimately concluded that it may not have been worth it to make my own globe, this project was far more worth my time and energy.
A picture of a Montessori continent map — I used this one.
Felt in various colors: blue, red, yellow, green, orange, pink, white, and brown.
I adjusted the size on the continent map picture so that the continents would be slightly larger but still fit on the blue piece of felt. I printed one to use as patterns, and one to use as a control map. I laminated the control map, and cut out each continent on the other copy. Next, I traced each continent on the correct color felt (Europe is red, Asia is yellow, Africa is green, North America is orange, South America is pink, Antarctica is white, Australia is brown) and cut them out. I kept the blue piece mostly whole, just rounded the edges a bit so it would look more like the control map. That’s it!
To present the Montessori continent map, I first got out the control map and we named all the continents. Then I pointed to each continent on the control map, found the corresponding felt continent, and put it on the blue felt. I repeated this until all the continents were on the map. L absolutely LOVED this work — after just a couple days, she was able to do it all by herself. The continents may have been upside down, but they were in the correct general place and it was recognizable as a map of the Earth.
For an extension of this work, we matched each of the felt continents to our Montessori continent globe.
This helped to reinforce the concept that the Earth is a sphere, but in order to look at it all together, we need to “unwrap” it to lay it flat on the map.
This has been a favorite work for months now, and it has held up pretty well. I did have to remake Antarctica after a vigorous tug of war session between sisters [*sigh*], but it was pretty easy to make with my patterns.