Little kids love animals. I’ve been wanting to make some cards like these since my first child was a toddler. He loved learning and reading about animals so much, I figured why NOT start teaching him about the different types of animals like mammals, birds, and reptiles? There’s so much knowledge that can be extended from simply learning about animals such as habitats or the concept of predator and prey.
The main reason I made these cards, however, was to help my kids learn geography. A few weeks ago, we made a Homemade Learning World Map with repositionable continent labels. Now that my kindergartener knows his continents, these cards can be used to reinforce that knowledge since this free printable features four animals from each continent, each one selected because it is predominantly found only in that one continent. One way to use this printable would be to select 7 animals (one of the four from each continent) and have your child tape them to a laminated world map.
Children who are capable of reading (or are learning to read) can use these cards Montessori-style by simply matching the labels to the picture. (For younger kids, I would only give them a continent at a time to make the task more manageable.) Control cards are provided which show the picture and label together so that the child (or parent) can refer back to this set to find the correct pairing. To turn it into a game that you can play with your child, the split activity cards can be used as a memory style matching game. The control cards could also be used alone for sorting. Children can sort the animals by continent, type, size, or conservation status.
At the request of a reader, I now also have 3-part cards that split the information on the control cards into 1) picture, 2) name of animal, and 3) additional facts to make the activity more difficult for older children.
Recommended Age Range: Preschool, Kindergarten, Elementary, Middle School, High School
Time Required: ~1 hour
Cost: Less than $3 in used supplies (Bulk of the cost is for the thermal laminating pouches, which are about 20 cents per pouch. You’ll need 14 sheets if you want to make both the matching and control cards, though you could save money by not laminating them or using contact paper.)
- paper (for printing World Zoology 2-Part Cards printable and the corresponding Control Cards. Note: For older elementary children, you may prefer to use the cards split 3 ways instead.)
- laminating pouches
Supplies & Tools:
- laminator (affiliate link)
- scissors or paper cutter (or both)
- Print the World Zoology Cards and Control Cards printables. (Note: Only the first 7 pages of each document should be printed as the last 2 pages contain legal information about sharing and image sources.)
- Laminate them.
- Cut them out.
I recommend starting kids off with just one continent group at a time before attempting the full set.
Don’t forget, these cards can also be combined with my Homemade Learning World Map for a more hands-on activity.
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