Culture, Montessori

Continent Boxes

A little while ago I found myself in one of my favourite stores, kikki.K here in Wellington.  This is a good thing and a bad thing.  I love the clean designs, but I have trouble just looking and then leaving.  The visit I mention eventuated in the purchase of a red A3 storage box.  My intention for this box was to create our first Continent box, Montessori style.

Both of the Oh Waily kids are now used to their Dad flying off to places overseas, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to introduce the different continents as well as individual countries. We’ve had a globe and a wall map for a long while now, which Miss Oh Waily has shown intermittent interest in.  My next step will be to purchase a continent puzzle from an online Montessori shop.  I have to admit to being tempted by a continent globe* as well, but I think we can do just fine with our existing one. And I will probably also buy the control maps so that the puzzle matches up and we can talk about hemispheres easily.  I spent some time looking online for alternative maps to use, but frankly I think my time would be much better spent on other things instead of re-inventing that wheel.

In the meantime, before I get the puzzle map, I thought I would begin the process by collecting items to add to the box.  The box is red, and traditionally in Montessori environments that means Europe.  So that is where I will start.

I already have a range of coins from various previous trips to European countries.  I can add in personal photographs that were taken by me in different places too.  I will start to keep an eye out for small, simple books about the continent or individual countries.  I may include animals that are native to the continent too.  We have certainly gained quite a collection to choose from.  As well as my efforts to collect objects that represent the continent, both Oh Waily kids have a great resource right at their fingertips.  I am going to be cheeky and ask to enlist the help of their daycare teachers into my scheme.  Three of the regulars are European, two from Germany and one from Poland.  I’m sure I can wangle some sort of language learning opportunities with them.

So, what other things do you think would work in a box about Europe?

Further reading and ideas for those who may be interested:
Montessori For Everyone: Continent Boxes
Counting Coconuts: Continent Bags
Montessori Tidbits: In the Continent Box
LaPaz Home Learning: Continent Boxes Finally Ready
My Montessori Journey: Continent Map Work


* note: I’m using Nienhuis’ catalogue to show you what I mean, because they’re the original makers, but much cheaper Chinese-made options are available.  But like all things, cheaper usually means lower quality (or lower wages, or both).

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