Montessori Land and Water Activities


Photo by M. Jost

The Montessori land and water forms consist of eight land form pans (lake and island, peninsula and gulf, strait and isthmus, cape and bay). You can make your own L & W forms or buy them. They used to be very expensive to buy, however lately they can be found under $50 and made of plastic (for six pans). Land and water form CARDS are less expensive to buy or make.

Aim: The L and W forms are a practical life exercise for large and small motor movement and sequencing of steps. They are also the concrete experience for the Geography curriculum, 3-6 and 6-9.

Age: You can introduce the L & W forms as young as 2 1/2 as a Practical Life pouring exercise, however I recommend doing this OUTSIDE in the late spring or early summer months when the weather is warm... The L & W form CARDS are given at a later date as a matching work to the L & W forms. The names of the L & W forms can be taught giving a Three Period Lesson (ideally with the forms, the pans). But you can teach the names using the L & W form cards. At age three to three and a half children can do the L & W form cards alone without the pans, matching them including the labels.

Tip: the cards and forms need to match! If you buy the cards, don't get the photos, and don't buy L & W form cards with green land if your L & W forms have brown as the land!
  • My tips on How to make land and water forms
  • Everything you wanted to know about making L & W forms at Living Montessori Now blog.
  • $$ I found plastic ones at Kidadvance (in two sets--which makes it more affordable if you buy one set at a time).
Land and Water Form Cards:

Tip: Get three-part cards! Make sure they will match your L & W forms.
Land and Water Form Lessons and Activities found in Montessori books:

1) "Land Form Boxes," plus "Variations and Parallel Activities" including making vocabulary cards to go with the boxes, from Montessori on a Limited Budget on pages 183-184.

2) "Land and Water" activities including forms, globe, and pictures from David Gettman's Basic Montessori on page 188-190.

3) "Making land models" from Teach Me To Do It Myself on page 158-159 (with a sidebar of other activities to try).

The land and water forms are always a favorite activity in the classroom, and the concrete experience for further study and understanding of geography including the globes,world puzzle map, and the continent maps.

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