Montessori Focus Land Water Air Activity

Today I am going to share with you one of the classic Geography lesson setups in the Montessori classroom for preschool children. It is a fun, hands-on Geography lesson that will help the child understand the concepts of land, water, and air.

Teaching geography the Montessori way involves a hands-on approach that encourages children to explore and discover the world around them. Montessori educators believe that children learn best when they are given the freedom to explore and make connections on their own. By providing a variety of materials, such as maps, globes, and puzzles, children can learn about different countries, cultures, and climates in a fun and engaging way.

Additionally, Montessori educators encourage children to interact with their environment by going on nature walks, observing the weather, and learning about local flora and fauna. Overall, teaching geography the Montessori way helps children develop a love for learning and a deeper appreciation for our world.

land and water forms activity montessori nature hands on learning (1)

After presenting Sandpaper Globe (1), which helps the child to develop a concept of the shape of the earth, and gain an understanding of the distribution of land and water over the earth, the child is ready to work with Land, Water, and Air activity.

Animals and their homes montessori nature sort matching free printables sign up

As educators, one of our goals is to help our students understand and appreciate the world around them. We want to equip them with knowledge, skills, and values that will enable them to become responsible and active citizens. One way to achieve this goal is through the Land Air Water Montessori Activity.

The Land Air Water Montessori Activity is a hands-on activity that teaches children about the interconnectedness of the three essential components of the environment, land, air, and water. The activity is suitable for children from three to six years old or preschool to kindergarten level. It is designed to be done in a group setting, although it can also be adapted for guided independent work.

One way to present this activity is to gather three trays, one for each component of the environment, land, air, and water. Each tray should contain items that represent or relate to the particular component. For instance, the land tray may contain soil, rocks, pebbles, leaves, and twigs. The air tray may contain feathers, cotton balls, ribbons, and pinwheels. The water tray may contain shells, water beads, sponges, and plastic fish.

The children will then take turns exploring each tray, examining the items, and identifying their features. They will also observe how the components are connected to each other and the resulting effects of their interactions. For example, they will see how rainwater affects the soil, how the wind moves the leaves, and how the fish live in the water.

In Montessori education, teaching about land, air, and water is an important part of the curriculum. Children are taught about the different properties of each element and how they interact with one another. For example, they learn that land is solid and provides a surface for plants and animals to live on, while water is a liquid that supports aquatic life and helps to shape the land through erosion.

Air is a gas that surrounds us and is essential for living things to breathe. By learning about these elements in a hands-on way, children develop a deeper understanding and appreciation for the natural world around them. Through exploration and observation, they begin to understand the interdependence of land, air, and water, and how vital it is to protect and preserve these resources for future generations.

Through the Land Air Water Montessori Activity, children can develop several important skills and values. They can practice their observation skills, critical thinking skills, and problem-solving skills. They can also learn about the value of the environment, the importance of conserving natural resources, and the need to protect and preserve habitats and species.

You may decide to modify or extend the Land Air Water Montessori Activity to suit your teaching goals and the learning needs of your students. For example, you can use pictures, diagrams, or videos to supplement the activity and enhance the children’s understanding. You can also encourage the children to create their representations of the environment using art, craft, or construction materials.

The Land Air Water Montessori Activity is an engaging and instructive activity that can help your students learn about the environment and how it works. By providing them with opportunities to explore, observe, and reflect on the land, air, and water, you can help them develop a deeper appreciation and understanding of the world around them.

When presenting this activity to my 3-year-old daughter I offer her a tray with:

tray with jars

β€œThe child gives us a beautiful lesson – that in order to form and maintain our intelligence, we must use our hands. ” Maria Montessori The 1946 London Lectures

In the beginning, I ask A to put soil in one jar – I love this because it prompts her to activate problem-solving skills. She has to think about where she can find soil and how she can get it. The same happens with water. She is asked to bring water to the pitcher, pour it into a jar, and add a drop of food coloring. The fun part begins when you ask the child to put air in a jar. When presenting it in the classroom some run outside and swing the jar in the air, others blow into it. My kiddo waves her air jar from side to side.

three jars and picture cards sorted
Land and Water Forms 3 Part Cards Playdough Mats Land Air Water Sort

After we have all three jars ready, I demonstrate the sorting of the cards and allow my daughter to finish the rest. Once the sorting process is complete, she can check her work for mistakes. In order for her to do a self-assessment, I put stickers on the back of the cards.

3 jars and cards

As an extension or additional activity, this is one of my daughter’s favorites.

Land water air activity extensions


Another idea for a similar activity is to sort geographical pictures of water and landscape. You can find my free printable for water and land activity from the Free Resource Library here. 

container with water and soil and labels

Land: Create a miniature garden for children to plant and care for. They can learn about the soil, the plants, and how to water them.

Air: Discuss the different types of weather that can be seen in the sky, such as clouds, snow, thunderstorms, and rain. Explore the concept of wind formation and how it affects the environment.

Water: Create a mini-ocean inside a container, let children explore the water and add different sea creatures. Discuss the importance of water and how it is used in different environments.

Land: Let children explore the different types of rocks, learn about the different minerals and how they formed. Give them different tools to use in order to explore the textures of each rock.

Air: Play a game where they can match the sound with the type of vehicle in the sky. Help them learn about the technology and science behind aviation.

Water: Let children create a water filtration system inside of a container. Teach them about how water is purified and the importance of safe drinking water.

Land: Create a map where children can learn about the different types of landforms such as mountains, rivers, and deserts.

Air: Use balloons and straws to learn about how air pressure works. Children can experiment with different tools to see if they can change the direction of the balloon.

Water: Allow children to take a virtual trip to a nearby ocean to learn about the different species of ocean wildlife and the importance of preserving marine life.

Land: Encourage children to explore the different types of soil found in nature. Discuss the different ways that soil is used in gardening and agriculture.

land and water forms sorting printable

Here a 3-year-old child is building the Earth using green and blue block pieces to distinguish between land and water parts.

earth learing mat and building blocks
Land and Water Forms 3 Part Cards Playdough Mats Land Air Water Sort

Children enjoy building land and water forms using rocks and have sensory play with toy animals. Here we used two shallow containers, a jug, blue food coloring, rocks & shells, land and water forms posters and sorting cards, and toy animals to create this hands-on exploration.

child playing with figurine toys in trays with water
Land and Water Forms 3 Part Cards Playdough Mats Land Air Water Sort

Earth Preschool Pack – Continents, Land & Water Forms, 3 Part Cards

All about the Earth learning activity pack for preschool children aged 3-6. The earth-themed activity pack contains printables to create a wide range of hands-on experiences for young children.

all about the earth preschool pack montessori nature learning printables

Students will practice phonics, building and recognizing teen numbers, cutting, push pinning, identifying continents, lands, and water forms, widening their vocabulary, learning about characteristics of the earth, practice developing logical thinking, learning about moon phases and layers of the earth, and so much more.

The printable features realistic clipart and photographs.

Here is what’s included:

  • Instructions and activity variations
  • Phonics – initial sound sorting cards (five cards for each letter, feature photographs)
  • Land and water mats – fine motor activity with building blocks
  • Seasons – sorting cards (six cards for each category, feature photographs)
  • Land, water, air – sorting cards (seven cards for each category, feature photographs)
  • Land and Water Forms – playdough mats and sorting cards (feature clipart and photographs)
  • Land and Water Forms – 3 part cards, definition cards, and student booklet (feature clipart and photographs, backline clipart)
  • Land and water forms included in the printable: lake, island, cape, bay, peninsula, gulf, strait, isthmus, system of lakes, and archipelago.
  • Teen number cards and backline booklet – counting, identifying, and matching quantity and symbols
  • Continents of the world (Montessori color-code) – different styles included – eastern and western hemispheres, different world map styles, outlines and color versions of continent outlines, world maps with labels (including oceans) and without labels
  • Continents of the world 3 part cards and backline booklet
  • Continents of the world – cards for
  • push pinning
  • Continent cutting strips
  • Layers of the Earth chart and playdough mat
  • Storytelling with visual prompt
  • Phases of the Moon – (southern and northern hemispheres) charts, 3 part cards, student backline booklet


find it on Teachers Pay Teachers

Geography resources you might find helpful in your classroom

About Anastasia - Anastasia is an early childhood teacher and the founder of Montessori Nature - a blog about Montessori living and learning and nature-based explorations. With many years of experience working in a Montessori environment and homeschooling her children, she directed her passion for all things Montessori and nature into creating educational resources. You can learn more here and browse her printables on Teachers Pay Teachers.

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