Montessori Continent Studies: South America — Our Favorite Activities

Ok, so we have studied the continents all together, North America, Asia, Europe, Australia, Africa, and now South America!

For each continent, we have a Montessori continent box full of small cultural objects, money, photos, and pamphlets from the continent.  When we were beginning this unit, I asked my Instagram followers from all over the world if they would be interested in sending us things — and so many said yes!  That is where the majority of our cultural items are from, but you can also purchase the contents for your Montessori continent box if you don’t have those personal connections — check here and here.

We first studied South America as a whole continent before breaking it up into different regions.  We used three-part cards of animals for each of our continent studies — I like the ones from Every Star is Different that can be found in her South America Unit.  We also used printables from that unit to study some South American landmarks as well as country and flag cards.

Once we had studied South America as a whole, we began diving into some of the different countries.  We did not go in-depth with every country in South America, but mainly to the ones recommended by a friend who had lived there for a while along with some that I thought would be of particular interest to my girls.

We began in the north and learned how to count in Spanish.  We examined the Galapagos Islands through books (you can find my list below), because I knew my girls would be fascinated by the many different animals to be found there.

Moving into the central part of South America, we spent a few days looking at the Amazon rainforest!

The girls had a blast putting together this printable puzzle as we learned about the layers of the rainforest. We also explored several books about the wide variety of animal and plant life there.  We even tried counting in Portuguese — it’s not easy!

Our friend spent a lot of time in Peru, so we ended up there for about a week.  We learned about the ancient Incas and Machu Picchu as well as looking at the animals that live in the Andes mountains and the Atacama Desert.  We may have stalked our friend’s Facebook photos to take a virtual tour of Peru!

And of course we ate!  We made empanadas (pictured above) and arepas at the suggestion of several of our South American followers.  Eating our way through the continents is our favorite way to study them!

As you can imagine, we read quite a few books about South America in the month and a half we spent studying the continent.  I scoured our local library as well as our personal book collection, and these are the books I chose for our South America study.  Please keep in mind that my choices were limited to the books available at our little library, so I couldn’t possibly include everything — but I do recommend all of these ones:

Usborne Big Picture Atlas

South America, by Libby Koponen

Cooking the South American Way, by Helga Parnell

Usborne Stories from Around the World

Ecuador, by JoAnn Milivojevic

The Galapagos Islands, by Greg Roza

Guyana, by Marion Morrison

Venezuela, by Terri Willis

Suriname, by Carolyn S. Lieberg

Colombia, by Nel Yomtov

Isabella’s Bed, by Alison Lester

Amazon Adventure: How Tiny Fish Are Saving the World’s Largest Rainforest, by Sy Montgomery

Encantado: Pink Dolphin of the Amazon, by Sy Montgomery

The Great Monkey Rescue: Saving the Golden Lion Tamarins, by Sandra Markle

The Tapir Scientist, by Sy Montgomery

So Say the Little Monkeys, by Nancy Van Laan

Brazil, by Ann Heinrichs

Uruguay, by Marion Morrison

Bolivia, by Byron Augustin

Peru, by Marion Morrison

The Inca Empire, by Sandra Newman

Machu Picchu, by Elizabeth Mann

Martin de Porres: The Rose in the Desert, by Gary D. Schmidt

Maria Had a Little Llama, by Angela Dominguez

Argentina, by Jean F. Blashfield

Chile, by Michael Burgan

The Dreamer, by Pam Munoz Ryan

Little Treasures:  Endearments from Around the World, by Jacqueline Ogburn




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