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12 Montessori (at home) activities to do with Schleich Animals

12 Montessori activities (for the home) using Schleich animals at How we Montessori

When I am in a toy shop I cannot walk past the Schleich animals without taking a look. There are always new animals and some of them are really beautiful. Here are a few ways in which we use Schleich animals in work and play. 

1. Footprints in playdough. Use an animal the child is familiar with to make footprints in the play dough. See if the child can guess or work out which animal made the footprints. Children may be interested in free play - making footprints with different animals. 

2. Using animals for continent study. At the moment we have a large basket full of African animals with a few pages about Africa. The animals could be a part of larger continent studies or used or sorted on their own. 

3. Using animals as a basis for modelling. As a preschooler Caspar went through a stage of loving sharks. Using our Schleich sharks and whale we made clay models. It was really easy to observe the differences between sharks while doing this along with reading from a shark book. A great way to learn and study body parts of animals. 

4. Matching animals. This is Otis as a toddler matching small Schleich rabbits, mice and pigs.

5. A collection of animals for animal study. When a child is passionate about an animal Schleich models are a great way to promote learning in that area. A collection of horses, dogs, birds… wherever the child's interest takes them.  It's also a great way of teaching animal breeds. As a toddler Otis carried around these model dogs for months - they also served as a fun distraction when eating out. 

6. Barn play. Barn play has been very popular in our home for toddlers and preschoolers. A small barn or fences or some small world play is a perfect companion to Schleich animals. This provides opportunity for free, expressive play, role play and role modelling. The child can learn about farm work, sounds animals make. We have also used the barn as a zoo. Just add a tractor or people to extend the play for an older child. 

7. Matching animals to cards. This is a fantastic opportunity for a very young child to do matching work. There are cards that can be purchased and a few online that can be matched to animals. This can also be used as language work - name the animal as the child does the matching. 

8. Animals in free play and sensory tubs. Arctic animals in snow, desert animals in sand, sea animals in water - there and many options that are a lovely way for children to interact with the model animals. This also provides the option of extending the play to further study into the animal's habitat and behaviour. 

9. Animals in a discovery basket. Perfect for very young children who can sit and are ready to explore with their hands. It's a great way to introduce the toddler to the names of animals and the sounds they make. 

10. Creating words with a moveable alphabet or for use in a sound box, or even for playing I Spy. Schleich animals are perfect for the young child learning sounds and sound blends to making their own words. Or even for the child beginning to read - the child can match the animal to the word. 

11. Matching mother to baby activity. The child matches the adult animal with the baby animal. This can also involve language work - use with the child the correct name for the animals 'sow/piglet' etc. 

12. Animals in a stereognostic bag/mystery bag. Show the child the animals and ensure the child can name of all the animals. Put the animals in the bag. Have the child put their hand(s) in the bag and using their sense of touch only identify the animals or pull out an animal you name.  

Schleich animals would also be perfect for further classification work. Suitable for air/land/water sorting… and for so much more. 

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