Geography is the science of the physical, biological and cultural features of the earth's surface. And, it is related to what is perhaps the most laudable goal of the Montessori method. I am referring to Dr. Montessori's idea that, through the use of a properly prepared environment, independence building, and an education which focuses on the cosmos and one’s place in it, children can grow up to build a more peaceful world. Culture and geography are definitely in the spotlight when it comes to fulfilling this goal!
Montessori education begins to introduce basic geography concepts during a child's primary years (ages 2.5-6). As always, the Montessori approach to geography is multi-sensory, allowing them to learn concepts in a hands-on manner. And, Montessori geography is FUN! You will be surprised at the delight you see as your small child learns about land, water, air, globes, continents, cultures, and more!
Whether you’re looking for educational toys to gift, adding supplemental materials to use with the M3 Geography Homeschool Curriculum, or stuffing your Montessori continent boxes, there are plenty of great ideas to choose from on this list!
Culture & Geography Books for Kids
A Life Like Mine: How Children Live Around the World is an absolutely stunning book. The photographs are truly realistic and it’s arranged really well. Your kids will surely enjoy reading about all the kids portrayed throughout this book as it does a beautiful job introducing many diverse cultural themes. I recommend this neat book for kids ages 7-12.
Children Around the World is another book that does a really great job piquing curiosity and introducing how other children live around the world. It explores themes of commonality and diversity, while including absolutely incredible artwork. I highly recommend this one, regardless of your child’s age!
Houses and Homes is a really fun book that showcases how different homes and houses can look throughout the world. It’s simple enough for a beginner reader to enjoy, but the images make it such that it’s really great for any age. And, if your child is showing readiness for an introduction to the fundamental needs of humans, this is a nice book that shows how diverse humans meet the need for shelter in different ways. I like this book for ages 3-9.
Shades of People is a celebration of the diversity of everyday life. It invites the reader to take notice, look beyond the obvious, and celebrate that which makes each of us unique. The underlying theme of respect for all and minimal text make this a great read for kids 2 and up.
What We Wear: Dressing Up Around the World provides beautiful images of children in different cultural dress around the world. Your child is sure to love seeing the traditional dress of children in other countries and comparing and contrasting it with the way you dress in your own everyday life. Great for ages 4-7.
The Seven Continents provides an introduction to the continents, including climate, landmarks, vegetation, and populations. It’s a great book for early readers, and the pictures make it such that even younger children can appreciate it! If you are going to buy just one book to introduce Montessori culture and geography, this is one I most highly recommend.
Geography Homeschool Materials and Toys
This Montessori Sandpaper Globe is a great way to introduce children to the concepts of land and water. They’re able to get a sense of the shape of the world, and visualize the distribution of land and water over the earth. It also allows children to activate their tactile senses as they explore the raised land masses versus the more concave oceans. Although the concept is phenomenal, homeschoolers may prefer to opt for a DIY approach as outlined in M3 Geography, since this product is used only for a short time.
This Melissa & Doug Stamp-a-Scene set encourages hand-eye coordination, narrative thinking, and creative expression, all while they learn about the rainforest! It’s a perfect gift for a child who loves art and animals, and I would encourage you to check out many of their other Stamp-a-Scene sets! This set is great for the inside of your continent boxes or as a way to spark interest in them.!
World Playground CD is a brilliant collection of fun songs from around the world. It’ll take your child on a musical journey to faraway places, where they’ll be introduced to other cultures from around the world. It’s one the whole family is sure to enjoy listening to! I used this during exploration of our continent boxes, playing songs from continent-specific countries in the background. When my kids were small. W, we had dance parties to them. Now, as mine have transitioned to lower el, they get excited to find the countries where the songs were written on the map. and to ask Alexa questions about the locales.
I love the idea of stamp collecting and this set is a great place to start! It presents an incredible opportunity for your child to explore the differences in sizes, colors, and designs, while piquing their curiosity about the different places highlighted in this set. Will nearly 500 different collectable worldwide stamps to sort through, this is a fun set that’s sure to last! I recommend this for children 5 and older.
You’ll never go wrong with figure sets from TOOB and this arctic animal set is no exception! This fun pack of animals is a great way to encourage your child to learn more about the arctic, and how the people and animals have adapted to overcome such an extreme climate. As you know, small figures fit in perfectly with certain sensitive periods, so these can be hugely popular. They always lead to a lot of imaginative play and questions of Alexa. Highly recommend!
Another favorite from TOOB is this Around the World set. Whether they’re used for study or imaginative play, these landmark figures will provide hours of fun and focus.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this list of some of my favorite supplemental books and materials for homeschool geography!
As you explore the intersection of physical geography and cultural geography, you’ll reveal to your child the interdependent nature of all members of the human race, and our responsibility both to each other and to our planet.
What's more - this approach to the subject matter seamlessly sets your family up for an interdisciplinary approach to learning in general. Don’t forget to check out our Montessori Geography Curriculum for even more geography fun and learning!