Sunday, 2 March 2014

Continent Box of Africa

I came across the Montessori idea of using continent boxes as a hands-on approach of introducing different countries, cultures, animals and landmarks from around the world. So after learning about The World Continents, I thought I would put together our own continent box of Africa. I chose to start with Africa as my son is interested in Egypt. This blog post will share the different items that we have in our box and how we used them.
To start with I purchased the Africa bundle from the Montessori Print Shop as well as a plastic box which I could use to store our items in.
In the Africa bundle, there is a large collection of African animal three-part cards. We used these cards, together with our toy animals (from our My Animal Kingdom set) to discuss the different features of each animal, what they eat, the environment in Africa they live in and how they survive.
To extend our learning on African animals, I also placed in our Africa box the David Attenborough's documentary on Africa: Eye to Eye with the Unknown. This six part series focuses on the different environments across Africa, the animals that live there and how they survive.
For my young daughter's I also put into our box the Walt Disney film The Lion King so they too could learn about the animals from Africa but not be confronted by the harshness of the wild life. I also added a read-along books about The Lion King into our box.
I added the flag cards from our Africa bundle into our continent box. As there are many countries that make up the continent of Africa, we chose which flags we wanted to look at as there are over fifty flags available in this bundle. 
To extend learning about flags, I printed off this FREE Africa map and, using our atlas, we glued each flag onto the right country then added it to our continent box.
Again, from our Africa bundle, I put the landmarks cards into our continent box. We loved these cards as they have real pictures and show how vastly different, from its waterfalls to its deserts, Africa really is.
I also purchased the World Landmarks Safari toob and Around the World Safari toob from an Australian company called Mini Zoo, to help with our learning about landmarks in Africa (mainly Egypt) such as the Pyramids of Giza and The Great Sphinx. 
I wanted to add some children's books into our continent box that gave a real, living picture of life in Africa. I found these blog post, 12 Children's Books About Africa and 20+ African Folktales for kids, that gave me some great ideas about African books. These are the books we placed into our box:
Another thing that I add to our Africa box was money. I used Google to find note money from different African countries and was able to print them out and add them to our box. 
What I love about the idea of using continent boxes to learn about world geography, is that we can add to these boxes as we continue to learn. In this way, it is supporting my children's learning and leaving room for them to direct the learning and to revise a continent when they want to learn more.

Update: I have since found this amazing learning resource that we have added to our box. The Fandex Family Field Guides on Africa is just incredible. It highlights each country within the continent of Africa and gives lots of information about the cultures, traditions, flags, population, gorgeous photography and much more. It is perfect for our continent box of Africa.
If you would like to see some more geography related activity ideas, visit my pinterest board.

Happy learning!

This blog post has been linked up with:
Montessori Monday


  1. Just found you on Instagram. I'm loving your posts.

  2. Safari Ltd has an "Ancient Egypt" toob now! You'll have to see if you can find it (I saw it on Amazon but I'm in the USA).