This week I worked on a fun project to add another dimension to one of Jasper’s favourite materials — the Schleich forest animals.
Around the web I’d seen photos of toddlers matching each lovely, realistic model animal to a lovely, realistic image on a card. I’ve even seen something similar for sale in the lovely How We Montessori shop, which features three sets of cards: one with a photo of the plastic animal, one with the animal in its natural setting, and one with only a silhouette. If you’re closer to Australia than I am, go for it!
Since I am sadly still in the throes of the Northern Hemisphere’s winter, I made my own. I used images of the animal in a setting, but tried to replicate the position of the Schleich animal (i.e. the adult wolf is howling).
This material provides some wonderful opportunities for learning.
Here’s how I did it:
First I downloaded some good-looking wildlife photos found online, and made a little collage out of them using a photo editor. Collaging isn’t neccessary, but it sure cuts down on wasted paper. I printed the pages in landscape mode.
Then I cut simply cut along the lines, and pasted the images onto some stiffer card stock (in the interest of saving even more paper, I used old file folders we had around).
Next, I cut out the images, leaving a small border of cardstock around the edge.
Then I had the cards laminated. You can do this at home, either using laminate sheets or a machine, but I had mine done at Staples and it cost $8 and was zero stress. It’s not totally necessary to have your cards laminated, but it will infinitely extend their lifespan. Don’t forget: toddlers!
There you have it! Your very own homemade-but-still-totally-awesome animal cards. In the photo below, you can see them in action, complete with authentic incorrect raccoon kit placement!
Edited to add: Beth, from Our Montessori Life, has left a wonderfully detailed explanation of how to present the animals and cards. I highly recommend checking out the comments below, and adding your own voice to the conversation!