Montessori Continent Boxes

One of the Montessori Materials that I was so excited to DIY from the very beginning are the Montessori Continent Boxes.

I first read about these on Counting Coconuts, and have seen a few versions since. You can also purchase continent boxes from Montessori suppliers, but I thought I could make my $191.90 go a little further than that!

Montessori Continent Boxes and an exciting announcement about hands-on geography with kids!

DIY Continent Boxes

In fact, the wonderful thing about Continent Boxes is that they can be done for little to no money, are completely customizable based on your child’s interests, and serve as more of a compliment to the Montessori Geography curriculum, so you don’t have to worry about how your box compares to the many examples available.

I took my time gathering continent materials, asking friends to send what they could from various countries and going through all of the special treasures that I had saved when I was a little girl growing up abroad. I visited local ethnic grocery stores and ordered a few special items online. There are some wonderful swap groups out there, and eBay can also be a great resource for some materials!

Even though my minimalist urges are in full swing, I felt okay about gathering up these materials as they are limited to the size of the boxes. You can alternatively use bags or folders – whatever works for your budget and space.

If you’re crunched for time and gathering the supplies does not sound feasible, I think a Little Passports subscription would be a great alternative (one-time purchases are $14.95 and a monthly subscription is $12.95).

I purchased 7 plain “photo boxes” from Michaels for Ella and I to decorate together, and hid all of the materials as we did so that they could be a surprise.

Painting DIY Montessori Continent Globes

I saved these cute little worlds from the tops of the TOOBS packaging – I included at least one TOOB in each box – and we decided to paint one continent per globe and attach it to its corresponding box. We used our DIY Continent Globe to help us figure out the colours and placement.

The Montessori Continent Colours are:

  • North America – Orange
  • South America – Pink
  • Europe – Red
  • Africa – Green
  • Asia – Yellow
  • Australia – Brown
  • Antarctica – White

Making DIY Montessori Continent Boxes

Next, we traced our continents from our Montessori continent maps (a traditional Montessori geography material) onto the tops of the box lids, and coloured them in with the corresponding continent’s colour.

(Since we shared our DIY boxes in 2015, you can now purchase pre-made boxes with continent outlines on Etsy if you want to save time.)

Montessori-inspired Homemade Flag Matching Game

I had also purchased a couple of these amazing (and cheap!) flag sticker books. For one book, I made a cute flag matching game with these wooden circles and with the other book, I saved one set of the flag stickers to make a set of flag pins, and ripped out the second set of flag sticker sheets and included them in the individual Montessori Continent Boxes (the flags are organized by continent in the book!) Ella can either decorate the Continent Boxes with the stickers or decide on another activity to do with them.

 

While Ella was busy preparing a snack, I quickly packed all of the materials into their boxes and stacked them in the living room. I invited her to select one box to open and explore.

She picked North America.

Unboxing the Montessori Continent Boxes: North American hands-on cultural learning

In the North American Continent Box I included:

  • TOOB of Powhaten Indians
  • TOOB of North American Animals
  • Canadian Flags
  • Canadian flag stickers
  • Quebec Flag (from our trip to Montreal)
  • American Flag
  • Mexican Flag stickers (I think I might end up buying the full North American flag set)
  • Homemade matching game of all North American flags
  • Treats from Canada, America, and Mexico
    • Maple candies, Ketchup chips, Oh Henry’s, Coffee Crisp
    • Babe Ruth, Payday, Cracker Jacks
    • Abuelita Hot Chocolate, chocolate cookies
  • Recipes for various North American cultural foods and a list of recipes that can be found in my cookbooks
  • List of books that we have about all North American countries (since they couldn’t fit into the box)
  • Money from Bermuda, Mexico, United States, and Canada
  • Canadian stamps
  • American stamps
  • Dream catcher craft supplies
  • Canada deck of playing cards
  • Candles that smell like a Canadian Sugar Bush (Cabane a Sucre) — the best smell in the world!
  • 3 Part Cards about North America

We have other North American materials and supplies that can’t fit in the box, or I just wanted to keep separate, and we will add more materials as we fully engage in a study of North America and start to explore Ella’s specific interests.

 

Montessori Continent Boxes + an exciting announcement!

Oh, and the exciting announcement?!

Sugar, Spice and Glitter’s Montessori- and Reggio-inspired {Preschool & Up} Fun, Hands-On Geography Curriculum is launching this Spring! And, it’s going to be a pay-what-you-can system so that no matter who you are or what your budget is, you can download and implement these amazing hands-on ideas for teaching geography to your 3-6 year olds! (Some of the ideas can be done with children up to age 9, and are perfect for special needs children.)

This eBook will incorporate traditional Montessori Geography lessons, ideas for Reggio-inspired Geography learning and provocations, great geography printables and ideas for using them in a variety of ways, along with sensory play, craft ideas, and much more!

I’m just working out the final details with the downloads, so if you want to be notified when the curriculum is available, make sure to subscribe to my daily or weekly e-mail newsletter!

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31 Comments

  1. I love how your continent boxes display! They look beautiful. I love how you involved your daughter in the process of making them. The Safari Toob earth tops look fabulous.

  2. These homemade continent boxes are way better than the store bought. They can be individualized and it’s super that your daughter helped in the process!

  3. Hi! Love your boxes and I’m making them so close to yours lol☺️May I know exactly how you stuck the toob globes on the front of the boxes? Thanks so much! Do let me know what’s inside all your boxes. So excited to see!

  4. I’ve just come across your site. These boxes are stunning! I’d love to download your ebook – where can I download it from?

  5. I’m trying to learn more about geography myself, I mean, I’m looking to teach my sons geography and love the hands on approach. This looks amazing and I can’t wait to get my hands on your e-book! Thanks so much for your time and effort.

    1. We purchased something very similar from an Etsy seller. They also sometimes have them at craft stores – those look good and the reviews say they are smooth and sturdy, so they should be good!

  6. Hi, did you ever make this? —Sugar, Spice and Glitter’s Montessori- and Reggio-inspired {Preschool & Up} Fun, Hands-On Geography Curriculum—

    I would like to see / possibly purchase.

  7. Are there links to the contents of the rest of your boxes? I’ve only seen the blogs about North America & Australia. I LOVE these and have gotten many ideas from your boxes!

  8. Hi, I’ve been admiring your continent boxes for so long, and have decided to try making them myself as well. Can you tell me how you removed the ball cap from the Safari Toobs and attached them to the photo boxes? i would also love to see what is in the other continent boxes. Would you be able to share?

    Thank you so much!

    1. Hi Jeanie,
      I need to add the other boxes this year! I just attached the full lid to the box so it could still spin a bit. I cut the toob with scissors and pried the lid off by hand.

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