DIY Montessori Inspired Activities and Games for 3 – 5-year-olds

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Montessori education is a great option for 3 – 5 – year olds who are ready to learn and explore! The Montessori approach emphasizes hands-on, child-led learning that allows children to develop at their own pace. With materials designed to promote independence, concentration, and a love of learning, Montessori classrooms are a great environment for young children to grow and thrive. From practical life skills like pouring and sorting to math, language, and cultural lessons, Montessori education offers a well-rounded approach to education that encourages curiosity, creativity, and a lifelong love of learning.

Montessori educational philosophy emphasizes the importance of hands-on learning activities for children. These activities not only teach children essential skills and concepts, but they also help develop their fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and critical thinking abilities. Some popular Montessori hands-on activities include pouring and scooping exercises, sorting and matching games, and sensory exploration activities. These activities are designed to be self-correcting, so children can learn at their own pace and feel a sense of accomplishment when they complete a task. By engaging in these activities, children develop a love of learning and a sense of independence that will serve them well throughout their lives.

The Montessori method offers a wide range of amazing experiences for children. Child’s work is their play. Generally, children do not need stimulation or encouragement; they naturally gravitate to activities that reflect their interests and enrich their passion for learning. Senses play such a major role in their learning.

All materials and activities that are presented below have a goal to making learning hands-on, connect hand and brain, and provide an opportunity for discovery. Our Montessori activities at home for cycle one (preschool age 3-5) are set up for different areas: Practical Life, Sensorial, Math, Language, Science, and Fine Motor.

DIY Montessori Inspired Activities and Games for 3 - 5-year-olds.

Practical Life

Montessori practical life activities are designed to help children develop important life skills and gain independence. These activities include tasks such as pouring, spooning, and washing dishes, as well as more advanced skills like sewing and woodworking. By engaging in these activities, children learn to concentrate, develop fine motor skills, and gain a sense of order and responsibility. Practical life activities are an integral part of the Montessori curriculum and are often the first activities introduced to young children in the classroom.

Washing toys. Often toys are used outside and get dirty. This is a perfect opportunity for arranging washing activities to clean toys. It is convenient to have materials available in the kitchen or bathroom where a child can get hold of them easily. Three-year-olds are usually very keen to follow a sequence of steps, such as filling in a jar with water, adding soap, scrubbing a toy with a  brush, drying the toy, and pouring water out.

Washing toy station with towel, brush, jug, soap and dinosaur.
Child washing a dinosaur in a soapy water

FINE motor

Montessori education emphasizes the importance of developing fine motor skills in young children. Through various activities and exercises, Montessori teachers help children improve their hand-eye coordination, dexterity, and precision. These skills not only prepare children for writing and drawing but also enhance their overall cognitive abilities. Some popular Montessori fine motor activities include using tweezers to transfer objects, threading beads, and manipulating small objects with their fingers. By engaging in these activities, children develop their fine motor skills in a fun and engaging way.

Kids go crazy for hammering activities. If you get a chance to get hold of a cut tree log – that’s great. I found an easy substitute for a tree by placing two corkboards on top of each other. This is a beautiful preparation for more complex exercises when children are older and are capable of building something with their hands. Perfect for fine motor exercise too.

A hummer with cork board and small nails.

Transferring activities with shells. Simple and fun. These are great ways to strengthen fingers and develop fine motor.

Child gathering shells with tongs for placing them in a ice black container.
Transfering activity with glass counters and tongs.

Sewing. Recycling old gift cards makes this activity even more attractive. We made beautiful Christmas tree ornaments with them.

pre-sewing activity with a large needle and yarns.

Introducing different office appliances, like sticky tape and hole punch are great for learning new skills. I noticed that it also encourages children to exercise their perseverance.

Whole puncher, construction paper and hole puncher.

Educational toys that develop fine motor are an excellent addition to Montessori Work Shelves.

Fine motor plastic fine motor activity.

Arranging stamps in a stamp book using tweezers is a beautiful cultural activity and a wonderful challenge for little fingers.

Stamps and tweezers activity.


Montessori mathematics is a unique approach to teaching math that emphasizes hands-on learning and exploration. In this method, children are encouraged to use manipulatives and other materials to understand mathematical concepts.

This approach is based on the idea that children learn best through their own exploration and discovery, rather than through direct instruction. By giving children the freedom to explore math in their own way, Montessori mathematics helps to foster a love of learning and a deep understanding of mathematical concepts that will serve them well throughout their lives.

Using different fillers for writing trays provides a scope of sensory experiences for a child. In this case, we used colored small rocks from a discount store generally used for decor.

Sandpaper numbers and tracing tray with small rocks

Cards and Counters are one of the easiest DIY Montessori materials to make at home at a very low cost.

Numbers and counters with glass drops and number cards
If you would like our printable with blue numbers, hop here.

We use the Small Number Rods for solving simple problem games and creating a story that is relevant to the child. You can make it as complex or simple as you like. I keep it short and sweet. My daughter loves coming up with her own stories as well. For example, ” Mia was having a birthday party. She invited Alex and Matt. Alex brought six green balloons, and Matt brought 4 orange balloons. How many balloons are there at Mia’s party?”.

Small number rods with number cards

We also often use bead bars for simple additions and skip counting once the child is a bit older and can easily count small beads with their little fingers without getting frustrated.

addition to ten with bead bars clipart printable cards
addition to ten with bead bars clipart printable cards

We use the Shiller Math homeschool curriculum that we supplement with lessons from the Montessori Math album. Using hands-on materials is a great way for children to grasp abstract concepts from an early age.

math blocks

The Hundreds Board is always accessible for the children as it allows them to work with numbers 1-100 at their own pace whenever they wish and explore patterns.

hundred board


Montessori language is a unique approach to teaching language skills that emphasizes hands-on learning and self-discovery. This method encourages children to explore their environment and develop their language skills naturally, rather than simply memorizing vocabulary and grammar rules. Montessori language activities include things like matching objects to pictures, tracing letters and sounds, and engaging in conversation with peers and teachers. By using these activities, children develop a strong foundation in language that will serve them well throughout their lives.

We chose a Transportation Unit for counting syllables in words and learning different types of transportation. Children easily learn to count syllables in words when it is first done with their names. This is where we started and moved to clap words associated with different types of vehicles.

Transportation cards sorting activity

Transportation 3 -Part Nomenclature Cards are a part of my Transportation Unit printable which includes many different activities that kids usually love.

Types of transportation 3 part cards

This is another activity for classifying vehicles.

Sorting transport by air, land and sea

In order to provide an opportunity for self-assessment, I marked cards on the back. After finishing sorting a variety of vehicles A turned them to the other side to compare labels and make sure it was done correctly.

Sorting transport by land, air and water
You can order the Transportation Unit here.

Once the children can confidently identify the beginning sounds of words when we play “I Spy Game”, we move to work with the Sandpaper Letters and matching cards.

initial sound activity
Beginning Sounds Cards and Student Booklets

Activities that allow children to build logical connections in the brain are very popular in our home.

animal printable
What Goes Together in Nature – Association Cards

Pre-writing activities that emphasize the important concepts of continuous stroke and the direction of reading and writing – from left to right.

turthle themed tracing activities

Match-up game for little ones with different types of turtles.

turtle themed activities

Coloring and labeling activity with parts of the sea turtle.

turtle themed activities


Montessori science is an approach that emphasizes hands-on learning and exploration. It is based on the belief that children learn best when they are actively engaged in the learning process. In Montessori science, children are encouraged to observe, experiment, and ask questions about the natural world around them. This approach fosters curiosity, creativity, and critical thinking skills, which are essential for success in science and in life. Montessori science also emphasizes the importance of respecting the environment and living things, and encourages children to become responsible and caring stewards of the planet.

I used felt parts from Map Activity to introduce the classification of living and non-living things work. This is such a perfect opportunity to engage in conversation and discussion with a child. If you wish you may download labels here.

Sorting activity with felt images into living and non-living

Float and sink experiment. The best time to demonstrate this activity is after a child had a lesson on Water and Land with Montessori Sandpaper Globe. This experiment is great for self-directed play. Children get excited to find things they can put in the water to find out if they float or sink.

Sorting objects into those that sink and float.
You can download my printable here.

After a regular nature walk, we find ways to incorporate all the exciting aspects of the walk to explore at home with nature themed tray. This time we observed a variety of birds fluttering from tree to tree and decided to make a nest and learn about different types of birds and their eggs.

nest activity
Birds And Their Eggs – 3 Part Cards Student Booklet Coloring Pages

bird cards
Birds And Their Eggs – 3 Part Cards Student Booklet Coloring Pages

Following children’s interests, I aim to offer activities that drive their curiosity further. Children at this age love matching objects to 2D images exploring details at their own pace soaking in all the information their senses are feeding their young minds.

internal organs activity
parts of the body activity
Our Amazing Human Body Parts Of The Body Cards

Our body is a complex machine and children need to learn what helps it function the best from an early age.

food 3 part cards
Food and Nutrition Pack

Science experiments are super important aspects of hands-on learning. Children were mixing vinegar with bicarb of soda and food coloring. They particularly paid attention to how different proportions of substances changed the outcome of the experiment.

bi carb soda and vinegar activity

Animals are always well loved in this homeschool and I use this opportunity to widen children’s knowledge about the Animal Kingdom.

vertebrates and invertebrates printables
Vertebrates and Invertebrates Sort
characteristics of vertebrates
Vertebrate Characteristics Preschool Posters and Sorting Cards
characteristics of vertebrates
Vertebrate Characteristics Preschool Posters and Sorting Cards
characteristics of vertebrates
Vertebrate Characteristics Preschool Posters and Sorting Cards
child cutting rabbit picture
Freebie – build and color an animal

When flowers are blooming all around – it’s the perfect time to explore parts of the flower and dissect the flower to make learning even more meaningful and exciting.

flower activity
flower activity
flower activity


Montessori sensorial materials are designed to help children explore and understand the world around them through their senses. These materials are carefully crafted to provide a range of experiences that help children develop their senses of sight, touch, smell, taste, and hearing.

By using the Montessori sensorial materials, children can learn to distinguish between different textures, colors, shapes, and sizes, as well as develop their ability to classify and categorize objects. This type of hands-on learning is a key aspect of the Montessori philosophy, as it allows children to learn through their own experiences and discoveries. Overall, the use of Montessori sensorial materials can help children develop a strong foundation for future academic and personal success.

Here is our DIY Colour Box 3 activity.

Matching color cards from lightest to darkest.

Children are currently fascinated with Chinese culture as we were looking closer to exploring this amazing continent of Asia. What a lovely fine motor exercise for little fingers – tracing Chinese characters with a brush and water on a special “magic” paper.

Chinese tracing activity

Inspired by Nature. Something to let imagination run wild. We love our outdoor nature walks.

Making faces with nature objects in nature

download MANY MORE FREE PRINTABLES from THE resource library

Homeschool - Learning Resources and Must-Read Books

  About Anastasia. Anastasia is a former Early Childhood Teacher and the founder of Montessori Nature, a blog about Montessori - inspired and Nature-based explorations. She taught in a Montessori setting for 10 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. Browse Anastasia's educational resources on Teachers Pay Teachers.

3 thoughts on “DIY Montessori Inspired Activities and Games for 3 – 5-year-olds”

  1. Thanks for sharing this amazing ideas. Montessori curriculum is the best thing that we can gift to our children. It helps them to learn themselves.

  2. Good Morning,

    Using to the wooden shape puzzle of a girl and adding cut material to dress her. Brilliant!
    Pantone color wheels fun floor activity and art project
    Naming color theme
    Mother Nature, Earthy botanicals and sustainable, rustic browns, spirited, celebratory and bright and energetic

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