18 months, DIY

DIY Animal Matching Card Set

deer

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.

wolves_raccoons

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).

cut_paste

Next, I cut out the images, leaving a small border of cardstock around the edge.

wolf_scissors

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!

laminate

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!

mat

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!

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5 thoughts on “DIY Animal Matching Card Set

      • I presented it to Quentin starting with just the cards. I named them and let him examine them. I kept it to only 3. Then I would ask him where the cat was and he would point (kinda like a 3 period lesson). Then I printed a duplicate set of 3 cards for matching. When he had become good with that I introduced the animals. Just 2 cards and two animals at first. He quickly got it and I increased the card/animal match by one until he was using a whole set. We do it on his work mat with the cards in neat lines. I found this was the difficulty with too many cards in the beginning. It was overwhelming for him to look through so many options to find a match. So we started with two cards and then went up from there. Hope this helps. I haven’t done forest animals with him but they are next on my list.

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    • Oh wow, thank you so much for taking the time to explain this so well, Beth. Very helpful! I think starting off with fewer moving parts makes a lot of sense at this stage.

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