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From early years children learn the basics of the world with Geography lessons. They are encouraged to explore the seven continents, each individual continent’s geographical location on the world map, learn about flora and fauna, cultural traditions, cuisine, and history.
Learning the names and positions of different countries around the world on a map does not have to be boring. In Montessori, we make it hands-on, and interactive with the help of kinesthetic-tactile materials and various resources.
In our classroom, we have just completed a series of presentations and learning activities on air, land, water; land and water forms; names and geographical locations of the seven continents with my kindergarten-aged child. So the first continent he chose to learn about was Africa.
There are fantastic non-fiction works of literature available on Africa that help to lay a wonderful background for learning about all the different aspects of the continent. With interactive and tactile activities children absorb all the fascinating facts and gain deep Geographical knowledge about the continent whilst working on enhancing their concentration skills, literacy, numeracy, and fine motor skills.
This work with Africa map and pin flags was very engaging and provided a positive challenge for little fingers that are still in the process of refining motor movements.
Here is what I did to prepare this work with African political map and pin flags.
If you wish to replicate this activity in your setting here is what you can do:
1 . Print and laminate colored political maps of Africa – one with labels and another map with capital city locations marked with stars. You can find the printable here.
2. Print and cut card country strips with flags and capital cities. Please note you won’t need all 58. I only marked capital cities that are presented on the Montessori Africa Map Puzzle.
3. Fold card strips in half and glue them around toothpicks.
4. Poke holes on the map with a push pin in place of stars (location of the capital cities).
5. Use a rolling pin to roll playdough to make a ‘mat’ the size of your map. Place the map on top.
6. Have a control map with country labels available for the child to locate each country.
Here are my recommendations
Start by presenting flags of 3 different countries. Show one flag at a time, name the country. Find it first on the labeled map. Invite the child to say its name and trace the country outline with his or her finger.
Then have the child pin the flag to the correct location on the pin map. Repeat until the student loses interest and invite to revisit this work when desired.
You may like to remind the students to be careful with the top tips of the toothpicks so they won’t poke their little fingers while pinning flags or cutting tips of the toothpicks with scissors.
With older children or if you feel the child is ready, you may also like to name each country’s capital.
In the small group setting, children who can read may like to take turns pinning flags. As a variation, students can pin flags in alphabetical order or to the countries from the largest to the smallest.
As a follow-up exercise, you can use map outlines for the students to color and label the map. Print 4 pages per sheet and make a student booklet “My booklet of African countries”. Invite the child to color and label as many countries as desired- one page per country.
Here are more recommendations kindly shared with me by one of the readers
We used to make flags for the puzzle maps in the MCH.
Perhaps you might like to try these ideas:
If you use a pair of scissors to cut the sharp point off one end of the toothpick/cocktail stick, it makes them less of a hazard.
Glue the flag with this cut end inside, so both the flag and the toothpick end are flush with each other.
Cork bottle stoppers can make bases for the flags. Use a glue gun to fix the sharp end of the toothpick into the cork bottle stopper. Check that the cork stopper is stable when the flag is attached as the size is relevant.
You may have to trim the flag size to suit and buy the right-sized cork.
It is possible to prepare the bases ahead so the child just fixed the flag to it. The flags can then stand independently on the map.
There are photocopy masters available for all the flags and the children can color them independently, personalizing their learning.
We also made duplicate copies of the African continents map so you have one for all the flags and another for the capital cities. Africa, in particular, can be very crowded otherwise!
As you probably know the Montessori Continents Globe distinguishes the continents by color. Africa is green. It makes it easier if the flagsticks are painted green and the names of capital cities are printed on green paper.
As the children, following their own interests, gradually discover all the continents it is easier to sort if the materials for each continent are a color-coded match.
Africa - Children's Books and Learning Resources
Africa Maps and Blackline Masters,Pin Flags - Montessori
This resource contains colored and blackline political maps of Africa with and without labels. It can be used with various age groups and in many different contexts – for coloring, labeling, pinning flags, marking locations, etc. Small strip cards with 58 flags and labels plus capital cities are also included.
Flags of Africa - 3 Part Cards and Blackline Masters
Three-part cards with African flags. The corresponding picture cards include the country’s map highlighted with red and the corresponding flag.
Encourage your students to practice writing and develop fine motor skills with this blackline option to create a student booklet.
Africa Continent Cards and Country Research B&W Booklet
This resource gives students an initial introduction to the continent of Africa. It contains 28 picturesque continent cards with photographs and short commentary. These cards provide a visual presentation of the cultural diversity of the continent, its natural beauty, architecture, and traditions.
Natural Landmarks and Artificial Landmarks in Africa | Sorting
Sorting activity – natural and artificial African landmarks. Invite your students to discover the most beautiful landmarks in Africa.
Africa Preschool Hands-on Activities - Montessori Nature Printables
Africa Montessori-inspired printable set filled with hands-on skill reinforcement activities for preschool and kindergarten students – fine motor, cutting, push pinning, tracing.
South African Animals Safari Toob 3 Part Cards Editable
Three-part cards with 9 examples of South African Animals for the object-to-image matching activity.
The printable provides a set of cards with photographs of 9 different types of animals included in the Safari South African Animals TOOB – African elephant, lion, lioness, spotted hyena, white rhino, giraffe, zebra, African buffalo, and chacma baboon.
Africa Continent Bundle Montessori Friendly
This unit study of Africa contains hands-on resources to teach students about unique aspects of the continent while developing their concentration, logical thinking, comprehension skills, reading and so much more.
Africa Vocabulary 3 Part Cards - Editable - Montessori Nature Printables
Three-part cards are an excellent tool to help interactively learn new vocabulary and spelling. Classified cards can be used to enrich the child’s vocabulary, to develop reading, writing, and classification skills while broadening the child’s knowledge of the world. Create bilingual/multilingual cards for the students in your minority language with ease.
45 Animals Of Africa - Nomenclature And Information Cards - Montessori Nature Printables
Common mammals, birds and arthropods found in Africa – 3 Part Montessori Nomenclature Cards
Endangered Speices - Object to Picture Matching Activity with Safari Toob
Three-part cards with 10 images for the object to photo-matching activity. The printable features clear real-life photographs.
Includes a set of Endangered Animal vocabulary cards – mountain gorilla, giant panda, Bengal tiger, orangutan, black rhinoceros, black spider monkey, Amur leopard, African wild dog, Asian elephant, and a snow leopard.
Animals Of The Continents Bingo - Montessori Nature Printables
I decided to make this bingo game printable when I noticed how much children ages 3-6 enjoyed playing bingo with their classmates in my classroom. I picked the most known animals of the seven continents in this one fun game. All images of animals are very clear on the white background.
Africa, Amazing Africa: Country by Country
Did you know that Uganda is one of the few places on Earth where you will find the endangered Mountain Gorilla?
If this topic interest you and your little one then get ready some fun.
It is hard to find the time to teach your child about the world around them. Luckily, in 40 Facts About, we've made it easy. Our book contains a diverse selection of the most interesting facts, that will provide your child hours of bonding and exploring.
Come discover how the animals of Africa prepare for bed, How they create their space of serenity. Or, what curious conundrums happen instead.
Come along on a journey, where the boisterous and meek share a common space. Follow us on this unique adventure, where irony seems to be commonplace.
Galivant with us through a land synonymous with majesty, accompany us for a memorable trek, now that, I can guarantee.
The Ultimate Book of African Animals
Join this amazing team to learn all about Africa's unique wildlife, including lions, elephants, cheetahs, zebras, giraffes, hippos, gorillas, rhinos, and so many more!
With so many species showcased, this book leaves no grain of sand unturned and no jungle unexplored! Inside you'll find animals of all behaviors, shapes and sizes, from the tiny bombardier beetle to the sneaky desert viper to mischievous monkeys and elusive Ethiopian wolves.
My Africa Vacation
Five-year-old Arinze and his older sister Cheta wait impatiently for school to end. Mommy and Daddy have told them this year they’re going to visit Africa. Arinze and Cheta have never visited Africa, but they’ve grown up listening to their parents talk about the wonders of the great continent.
All About Africa! About All African States and Peoples
Kids, welcome to Africa! This is a great picture book that will take you to the beautiful African states and meet the people who call it home. Learn about the sights and sounds of the place. See the animals roaming in the safaris. Learn about the place’s traditions and cultures too. Go ahead and grab a copy today.
A Is for Africa
From A to Z, stunning color photographs depict everyday life in Nigeria, where the author-photographer grew up—but the images pictured also represent the rich diversity of Africa, and the warm family ties and traditional village life found throughout this vast colorful continent.
The Marvelous Mud House: A Story of Finding Fullness and Joy
Ben and his American family live in a hungry ranch house where they are always wanting more. But then they travel far across the world to Kenya and visit the marvelous mud house where George and Mama George live. There, among the mango trees, they discover a marvelous lesson about what it's like to be full of joy instead.
Safari Readers: Giraffes (Safari Readers - Wildlife Books for Kids)
Take your child on a reading adventure with Safari Readers and learn all about Giraffes in this WILD and exciting book series for kids. Packed with ferocious facts, stunning photography and engaging puzzles, your reading safari will be certain to fuel curious young minds and inspire the next generation of nature lovers.
Over in the Grasslands: On an African Savanna
Learning becomes fun with this book about the Africa savanna! In Over in the Grasslands: On an African Savanna, amazing artwork will inspire children in classrooms and at home to appreciate ecology, environment and the world around us!
The perfect habitat book for kids, Over in the Grasslands teaches early learners about the animals of South Africa, and doubles as a fun, interactive, counting book for kids.
Preschool Books About Race: Every Shade of Smile: Kids Books About Race, Diversity & Inclusion for Baby, Toddlers & Preschoolers
This beautiful book is filled with smiles of every shade and helps little ones understand that even though someone’s skin may be a different color, a smile is universal!
This picture book for babies, toddlers and preschoolers features:
Charming rhyming text about the beauty of a smile and how a simple smile can show acceptance, kindness & friendship.
It All Started in Africa
It All Started in Africa takes young children on a journey through generations of African Americans over the course of history. Children will gain a better understanding of African American history as they engage in the concluding discussion questions. They will be challenged to make life better for themselves and for the people around them. Enter into this exciting, interactive experience all the way to its surprising finale!
Mammals of the African Savanna - Animal Book 2nd Grade | Children's Animal Books
Have you ever been to the African Savanna? If you haven't yet, then this is your chance to go! This book will introduce the mammals that live in the African Savanna. There are pictures and select facts that go with each. Having adequate knowledge on animals will shape your child’s appreciation of their natural roles in balancing life on Earth.
The Fantastic World of African Animals - A Children’s Book about Lions, Zebras, Elephants, Giraffes, Hippos & more… An Educational Wildlife Photography Fact Book for Animal Lovers of All Ages
Discover the African Animals that roam our beautiful planet - Written by a "Wildlife Expert" from the African Wildlife Foundation
Written by Craig Sholley, Senior VP of the African Wildlife Foundation, who worked alongside well-known conservationist Dian Fossey, “The Fantastic World of African Animals” helps children learn to respect and understand the wonders of our natural world. Learning about animals is one of the most recommended subjects for children to be exposed to early on. Books like this stay with kids forever and inspire them to grow into animal lovers and maybe even conservationists!
Wangari's Trees of Peace: A True Story from Africa
As a young girl growing up in Kenya, Wangari was surrounded by trees. But years later when she returns home, she is shocked to see whole forests being cut down, and she knows that soon all the trees will be destroyed. So Wangari decides to do something—and starts by planting nine seedlings in her own backyard. And as they grow, so do her plans.