Friday 27 June 2008

Continent folders/boxes

I think like many people doing Montessori at home, space is a big problem, or more specifically, lack of it. So it has taken me quite a while to figure out what to do with the continent 'stuff' when I have finished organising I will take some photos. So far I have got colour coded folders with photos from magazines in them, Antarctic is looking a bit sparse though :o). I also intend to keep any info sheets, worksheets etc. in there.
We also have the wooden map puzzles, I don't have a rack for them as of yet and they are too big and heavy for babyebi to get out on his own. At the moment we just have the world map out, the rest are in their boxes, he sometimes ask to try one of the others. With the world map I have a basket of small animals, one representing each continent, he likes to match them up. We also have some world monument pictures that he tries to do the same with.
From my Montessori course I got some blackline masters of the continent cards so I have made those and backed them onto the colour coded card and made some other cards to use as an extension with them. Each card has a type of house, food, wildlife and people.
Now, I KNOW each continent is massive and so the photos I have used are VERY general, I am hoping they will work as a step towards to the folders, when I see that he is interested in a particular type of picture he can check the colour and I can show him how to get the matching folder out. You can download the cards here to download them...
  1. click on the file you want
  2. above the file image are some icons, click on all sizes
  3. choose which size you want, the original will be the best quality but a large file, might take a while to download.

These are the colour codes
Europe - red
South America - pink
Asia - Yellow
Antarctica - white
Australia - brown
North America - orange
Africa - green

We have a few objects from around the world and they are presently on the shelf, he likes to get one down and look at it, ask me where it is from and find it on the globe. We don't have enough things as of yet to justify cluttering the room up even more with boxes. As we have several items for the same countries I rotate the objects to keep them interesting. On the same shelf is a basket of postcards which we do the same thing with.

How do you organise your continent things? Please share your ideas. And do you have any favourite books to use with this work?

Finally, if you haven't voted for Babyebi's Caterpillar for the funny food contest, please pop over now and do so, voting closes soon ;o)

And there is still time to enter the name the mermaid comp

Then when you have done all that, why not sign up for the phonics miniatures swap.


  1. Thanks for this post, Jo. I did make up a set of continent boxes last year. They are sturdy fabric covered cardboard boxes, but the "Where do I keep these?!" issue is big! Originally they were on a shelf where both boys could reach them but they were often all pulled out to be used as big building blocks, or the contents were taken out and mixed up. Especially the coins! :) I know that when my children are older this won't be such an issue and I will have them out again, but for now they are up on top of the shelves in the playroom and even *I* have trouble getting to them! lol. not ideal. So, I'm really keen to see what other people say!

    On another note, I am wondering if you are planning to continue homeschooling babyebi past the preschool years?

    Amber :)

  2. Re:On another note, I am wondering if you are planning to continue homeschooling babyebi past the preschool years?

    Actually I am now trying to decide what to do about kindy next year, the school year starts April here and he will be old enough to go next year. There is no Montessori school nearby so the options are the traditional Japanese kindy, which I am not into AT ALL or a kindy my friends kids went to. It is a lot more laid back, no poncy uniforms (that most kids just wear on their way to and from kindy) and it is very much into arts and nature. They have a big art room and a pot throwing room and they have a veg garden too. I haven't been to look around yet but it sounds more up my street than the other places. If I was in the UK I would probably keep him home until he was school age (4 in the UK 6 in Japan) but I feel he needs to socialize more with Japanese kids, improve his Japanese and learn the 'rules' in school life that I can't teach him at home. I'm not sure if the kindy I am interested in will allow it, but ideally I would like him to go 3 days a week and stay home twice a week so he is getting a good balance.
    If I was back home I would have a whole different outlook on it all!
    Past kindy, he will go to Japanese elementary school, I feel it would make him more of an outcast (he already doesn't fit in with being of mixed race) if he was home-schooled and in the long run just wouldn't be fair to him. I will 'teach' him English at home though. Sorry, maybe I should have answered that in a post instead of a comment!

  3. Thanks for answering that so quickly - it's such a tricky Q isn't it! My biggest boy is at preschool 3 1/2 days at the moment - it's a Montessori without a 5 day program & I originally started with 3 days this year but I wanted to give him as much work-cycle time as possible so now I send him an extra morning. I would L.O.V.E. to be able to send my boys to a M school but this is not possible and I *wish* I was the kind of Mama who could commit to full-time homeschooling but I don't think I am, so the actual choosing school decision is a huge one.

    I am inspired to read that you are planning on a traditional primary school, well, if you can say that Japanese ones are traditional! You are such a switched-on lady with brilliant ideas and a great ability to "pull off" the things that the rest of us admire and think about but don't actually get around to doing... and you are so great with your Montessori work. So, it's good food-for-thought for me to see that you are thinking along those lines - but I'm sure you'll continue to add lots of good learning experiences into babyebi's days.

    Which is what I am hoping to be able to do!

  4. Thanks for another great download/ I just ordered "Africa is not a Country" at our library, and the dollar store had some globes, so I bought a couple to paint for continents and land/water. I am very excited.

  5. Africa is not a Country is a great book, I know some adults that could do with reading it LOL. I have just ordered a couple of new books, well sort of for my brother to get them for BabyEbi's birthday, not sure if they are any good yet, that is the trouble with internet shopping!

  6. Love the continent cards!! Will use them in my classroom.Thanks! I'm going to make one set of one pic each, mounted on coloured paper so the little ones can match to the continents, and one set of classified cards for the readers, not mounted on coloured paper. Thanks again!!

    In my classroom last year I had a basket filled with objects from the continent of the month. I also made several flag packages with were made with coloured paper to match the colour of the continent (to hold a 5X6 card I think)then made 6 country cards for each pouch. Postcards can also be placed in these pouches. The name of the country and the coloured flag are on the top of the pouch, the country cards and the blank flags are inside. When they finish looking at the cards and colour the flag, we staple the flag onto a straw. They write the name of the country on the back of the flag. I will have several of these pouches for each continent (except Antarctica!).

  7. I am in the midst of preparing/filling continent boxes right now for my two -- when I get them to a nice progress point, I'm blogging about them.

    Thanks for the link to the continent cards! They make me wish for a color printer. :0)

  8. My printer ink has arrived and I've just downloaded the files. Thanks again! :) Just a note - Maybe you were aware but the person in the Australia card set is actually a Maori from New Zealand not an Australian Aboriginal. Obviously "Australia" the continent also includes NZ and other countries in the area but it can be a little confusing sometimes!

    Actually, do you know of any resource online that defines where *exactly* all those little countries go in the continent categories? I am wondering about Fiji. I think it must be considered part of Australia - but it isn't included on the Montessori maps.

    1. Australia is a continent that includes New Zealand...

    2. Australia, although a country, is also a continent that includes New Zealand...

    3. yes, I know and earlier in the blog posts I explained that due to equipment that we bought the continent Australasia was labelled as Australia and so I stuck with that so that my son wouldn't get confused. Now he is older I have explained the difference.
      It was annoying to get materials that were misleading but there wasn't really anything I could do about it.

  9. Yes, I know he is a Maori, the set is for the continent, I wanted to call the cards 'Australasia' for the continent but all the things I bought such as the maps have Australia and I didn't want to confuse matters even more. I think Fiji falls into the Australasia catagory, I'm not sure about some of the small islands/countries around central America.

  10. Oooo, it's tricky, huh?! I hope you didn't mind me commenting about it :) I actually really like that it's not Australian-centric because it means there'll be a good conversation with my son (and his grandad is a kiwi).

    I had to fix the printer it seemed and my fingertips are covered in ink but I only have the Africa one to go - and I'm more than delighted with the cards. Just that *little* step of cutting and mounting to go! Do you contact or laminate?

  11. I just purchased the book

    I is for India

    A great alphabet book with picture from India for each letter. Dawn

  12. I just purchased the book I is for India. Great pictures. Dawn


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