Learning About Land And Water Formations – Montessori Outdoor Explorations

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A hands-on approach to teaching Geography has many benefits. Children grasp complex concepts with ease as they emerge into the learning process. We headed with my preschooler to the beach to learn about land and water forms – one of the subjects covered in the Montessori 3-6 curriculum.

Nature is a wonderful and inspirational source of learning opportunities no matter where you choose to explore it. Children are free to learn and discover outdoors at their own pace, which normally requires a great deal of movement.   As you probably know, learning and movement are closely intertwined. We do lots of outdoor explorations with hands-on activities. As Maria Montessori said:  “Nothing should be given to the brain that is not first given to the hand”.

DIY Land and Water Forms Explorations On the Beach Montessori Nature

Living right next to the water gives us a great advantage of using natural resources to learn about the outside world. Simple activities turn into child-driven adventures. Learning about land and water forms on the beach seemed like a fun activity to do as a part of our Montessori Outdoor Weekly Explorations.

Since we’ve spent time learning about the shape of the Earth and the fact that it’s covered with land and water, it was time to start exploring land and water forms.  For those who are not familiar with Land and Water Forms Presentation, you can watch this video made by Montessori Training – Montitute

You probably noticed, if you watched the video, how precise the language is. I have seen (and have done it in my classroom) teachers adding replica animals to encourage open-ended play with these after the presentation. Also, adding food coloring to the water always adds some extra special elements. There are 10 different forms presented as a part of 3-5 Montessori curriculum  – lake-island; cape- bay; strait-isthmus; gulf-peninsula; system of lakes – archipelago. In addition to the trays with forms, children also work with 3-part cards to learn to identify land and water forms. We found a beautiful set of free cards on The Helpful Garden Blog with many different choices of fonts.

DIY Land and Water Forms Explorations On the Beach Montessori Nature

Making land and water forms out of the sand was a great experience. I started by presenting lake and island, then invited my preschooler to help make these together. Have you noticed that every time you make something with your own hands or involve different senses in the process, it helps you process and retain the information so much better? It definitely was the case with my student. She grasped it and learn vocabulary easily, and squealed with excitement every time she had to get water from the ocean to fill in the forms. So here is what we did:

  • Revisited the fact that the Earth is round and covered with water and land,  that water covers a major part of the surface of the planet
  • I pointed out that there are various land and water forms
  • I explained that we are about to find out what some of them look like
  • I made an island out of the sand and said the definition
  • I invited my student to bring some water and fill in the island form
  • Then I glided my hand to feel the island and invited her to do the same
  • It was Miss A’s turn to make a lake.
  • We repeated all the same steps once again, but this time with lake form

After that, we did make a couple more forms, but we will be revisiting them later once again.

DIY Land and Water Forms Explorations On the Beach Montessori Nature

It was great fun and we sure did entertain many people on the beach setting up our activity and demonstrating Montessori homeschool learning in action. Geography is a fascinating subject, why not make it hands-on and exciting. Children always love building sandcastles and dig in the sand, DIY Land and Water Forms Activity fit perfectly into that category of fun.

You can find among my free printable sets Land and Water Forms Around the World Cards. You can access it by signing up for my newsletter below.

You may like to check out my Montessori-inspired Geography printable – The Seven Natural Wonders Of The World 3 – Part Cards, Information cards, and map printable.

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  About Anastasia. Anastasia is a former Early Childhood teacher, the founder of Montessori Nature, a blog about Montessori - inspired and Nature-based explorations. She taught in a Montessori setting for 11 years and has been practicing the Montessori way of learning and living for the last 20 years. She loves designing engaging educational printables for children. Learn more here. Browse Anastasia's educational resources on Teachers Pay Teachers.

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