Land, Air, and Water is an activity found in many Montessori Geography areas. The purpose of the activity is to explore and discuss where an animal or an object spends most of it’s time. For example, airplanes fly; we would classify it under air. It’s not necessarily a study about where they live or stay, but where they move. I begin by saying, “We live on Earth. Earth is made up of land, air, and water.” I point out these areas in a photograph or while holding a globe. Talk with the child about examples of land. A playground, a school, a forest. Discuss water and share examples of rivers, lakes, creeks, or oceans the child may have seen. Air is all around us.
There are many ways to present and organize this work. The picture shown above is great for readers, simply sorting the objects into the correct column. I like to present this activity with a photograph familiar to the child where land, air, and water are shown. It’s also interesting to have 3 different containers for sorting, green or brown for land, clear for air, blue for water. Often, I keep jars of soil, water, and air out for exploring these concepts.
If you are crafty, canvas mats painted or felted as a scene showing land, air, and water bring imagination and interest to this classic activity. A great example of a felt mat, made by my talented friend from Montessori Teacher Training can be seen here. Mats for the visual extension on this activity are available to purchase at Wasceca. I think holding objects is interesting to the youngest children, I have had this activity out since my toddlers where around 11 months. I do adore these cards that we downloaded from Montessori Print Shop, designed for sorting in a similar way. You can even gather photographs from a vacation, showing things in the air, land, or water!
I have fun reinventing this activity for the classroom and for home based on individual interests. It can be all creatures from the sea, or animals of a certain continent, or simply transportation. The activity I made for home is just toys that were in my daughter’s room today. See what is in your home that travels the land, air, and water!
Written by Jessie Beerman, M. Ed, from The Education of Ours,
a blog about Montessori Education for the home.
Jessie is a proud mom to three daughters, and a Montessori Teacher
who dabbles in writing, art, and yoga.