Like many preschoolers, my 4-year-old grandson is obsessed with alligators and crocodiles. So I’m expanding his (and our) knowledge with a crocodilian unit, including crocodiles, alligators, caimans, and gharials! You’ll find free crocodilian printables and activities for preschool through early elementary.
As usual, we have a new, free printable pack (a Montessori-inspired crocodilian pack) for our newsletter subscribers’ resource library!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links (at no cost to you).
Montessori Shelves with Crocodilian-Themed Activities
You’ll find Montessori-inspired crocodilian numbers, letters, and and more (part of my subscriber freebie pack, so just sign up for my email to get the link and password … or check the bottom of your latest newsletter if you’re already a subscriber).
Note: The Montessori-inspired crocodilian pack isn’t designed as a complete crocodilian unit but as supplemental materials. I design the packs using realistic images that I’ve often looked for when preparing a unit study (such as font cards and phonogram cards featuring the letter and phonogram related to the theme and math cards with realistic images that fit the theme and can be adapted for math activities at a variety of levels.)
You could mix your crocodilian-themed activities among your shelves according to curriculum area. Or you could have a special crocodilian-themed area something like the one pictured. My shelves at the beginning of our unit have a mixture of skill levels. Many of the activities can be adapted for a variety of levels. Many of these are designed for early elementary as well as preschoolers. If you’re a homeschooler, just choose the activities that work for your child’s interests and ability levels. If you don’t have room for all the activities you’d like to do, simply rotate them.
Notice the framed copy of the watercolor painting Muddy Alligators (1917) by John Singer Sargent. It’s a free download from Wikimedia Commons.
For our monthly featured art print, I purchased a Li’l DAVINCI art frame that opens in the front for easily changing a free art masterpiece printable or vintage illustration to fit with the month’s theme. The frame can be switched from horizontal to vertical without changing the hanger, which is perfect!
If you’re wondering about the rugs and rug box I use, both the rugs and wooden rug holder are from Montessori Services. I love the Montessori Services rugs and rug holder! I used to use an umbrella stand something like these. I loved that for 1-3 rugs, but I needed something different when I had more grandchildren and some projects that needed more than one rug.
Crocodilian Books for Kids
I have a blog post with lots of great alligator and crocodile books along with the new crocodilian books featured here on the top shelf.
Favorite Shelves, Trays, Baskets, and More for Montessori Homeschoolers
I often get asked about the trays, baskets, etc., that I use, so I published a post with many of the items. You can find lots of helpful resources here. They’re not all essential, so don’t feel you need to have everything. Just choose what’s best for your budget and your unique family’s needs. You’ll find more ideas in the Living Montessori Now Amazon shop.
Life Cycle of a Crocodile Figures and Printables with Crocodilian Books
Caimans, Gharials, Alligators, and Crocodiles and Alligators and Crocodiles Can’t Chew!: And Other Amazing Facts are two books with lots of easy-to-understand facts.
Free Printable: Life Cycle of a Crocodile Word Mat from SparkleBox
Free Printable: Life Cycle of a Crocodile Cut and Stick from SparkleBox
My grandkids love the Safari Ltd. life cycle figures, so I ordered these crocodile life cycle figures. They were drawn to them right away! These are adaptable for a variety of activities, including the cut-and-paste activities below the top life cycle activity.
Reptile 3-Part Cards, Crocodiles and Alligators Pages from Picturepedia, and Crocodilian Geography Resources in Background
On the cookbook easel, I show two crocodile and alligator pages from Picturepedia, which I love as a reference for most units!
Free Printable: Reptiles Montessori 3-Part Cards by SavvyPrints at Teachers Pay Teachers
In the backgound are two crocodilian trays and Montessori-friendly crocodilian geography resources. I love the Maps book for a variety of geography activities, including finding the locations of various crocodilians. The second open book is the DK Animal Atlas, which is great for an animal theme.
The first tray is actually a small basket with Safari Ltd. Prehistoric Crocodiles. I got them for my 8-year-old granddaughter to follow up on our fossil unit and for my 4-year-old grandson, Caleb, the one who’s totally fascinated by crococdes and alligators. But my 4-year-old granddaughter, Sophia, was also fascinated by them. So we’ll be doing some research on prehistoric crocodiles!
The second tray has the alligator alphabet cards and gharial alphabet cards (from the two subscriber packs). These can be used in a variety of ways, including matching alligator letters to gharial letters.
Crocodilian Sand Writing Tray
Free Printable: Caiman letter c and crocodile i_e phonogram for crocodilian-themed sand writing tray (part of my subscriber freebie pack, so just sign up for my email to get the link and password … or check the bottom of your latest newsletter if you’re already a subscriber)
You’ll see a variety of simple letter writing trays in my previous unit study posts. I often used the wooden tray from the Melissa & Doug Lace and Trace Shapes. You can use whatever tray or container works best for you, though.
I typically now use this lovely spelling/alphabet tray from FamilyTreeWW on Etsy. I love that it has a slot that fits sandpaper letters as well as any type of cardstock! The sandpaper letters I use are available in print or cursive. I added a Schleich rabbit to the tray for interest.
If you would like help with introducing phonetic sounds, introducing objects with sounds, or beginning phonics in general, check out my DIY Beginning Montessori Phonics with Preschoolers.
Crocodile Snap Sight Word Game
I just set up the shelves, and we haven’t had the chance to start using the activities yet. All my grandkids were drawn to this tray! It’s a fun activity that can be adapted for almost any concept. I like the idea of playing it as a cooperative game using one of the printables below. There are directions for making the crocodile with a diswasher pod box if you wish. I used our Schleich crocodile with movable lower jaw for holding the cards.
Free Printable: Crocodile Snap Sight Word Game by Amber Morrow at Teachers Pay Teachers
Free Printable: Crocodile Snap (An ABC Game) by Growing Kinders at Teachers Pay Teachers
Free Printable: Crocodile Chomp Number Edition Game by Get Set School Prep at Teachers Pay Teachers
Following Directions with Mr. Crocodile Game
Free Printable: Following Directions with Mr. Crocodile Game by Lauren DiBiase at Teachers Pay Teachers
You can see this activity on the middle shelf by the Crocodile snap game. It was super easy to prepare. I think we’ll just use it as a fun movement activity of reading and acting out the directions.
5 Little Monkeys Nursery Rhyme Book
Free Printable: 5 Little Monkeys Nursery Rhyme Book by Primary Creations by Mrs Garza at Teachers Pay Teachers
There are printables of 5 little monkeys that can be used to act out the story. Right now, I just have the cards set up as a fun easy reader. If you’d like a fun, free printable, check out the 5 Cheeky Monkeys and Crocodile from Picklebums.
Crocodile and Baby Crocodile Cards and Counters
Free Printable: Crocodile Numbers and Baby Crocodile Counters (part of my subscriber freebie pack, so just sign up for my email to get the link and password … or check the bottom of your latest newsletter if you’re already a subscriber)
I love making DIY Montessori cards and counters. These were especially fun with the mother and baby saltwater crocodiles! The printable circles are designed for wood slices 1.5″ in diameter. I printed mine out at 67% to fit 1″ wood slices, which is the size I prefer for cards and counters.
- You’ll need: Numerals 1-10 and 55 counters (or the number of counters to match the numbers you’ll be presenting).
- Note: For the activity, you’ll have the exact number of counters needed (for example, 55 counters for numerals 1-10) as a control of error.
I also printed out the odd and even labels for a more advanced cards and counters activity.
These can be used for simple counting, addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division. There are greater than and less than signs, although I like to use the greater than, less than alligator math cards and activities for greater than and less than. You’ll find free printables and lots of fun ideas in my alligator posts below.
Alligators and Crocodilles Book and Venn Diagram Work
Free Printable: Alligator vs Crocodile from Education.com
Free Printable: Alligators and Crocodiles Compare & Contrast Venn Diagram by Mrs Creekmore at Teachers Pay Teachers
I included a Safari Ltd. alligator from the Alligators Alive TOOB (the Alligators Alive TOOB is not generally available, although you might find it by searching Google), and a Safari Ltd. crocodile from the Land Down Under TOOB (mainly for interest) along with an information printable and Venn diagram printable. After studying about alligators and crocodiles, preschoolers can dictate their answers while older children can write their own answers. With a younger child, I like to move the alligator and crocodile to the appropriate place in the Venn diagram as I read the characteristics of the alligator and crocodile in the book.
Rotating Crocodolian Activities
Activities that are great to rotate in later on:
Free Printable: How to Make a Felt Alligator (Pattern) from Wildflower Ramblings (This is a fun activity that can be used for gluing or sewing a felt alligator.)
Activities from the posts below. I wanted to show only new activities at the beginning of our unit, but I still have all the alligator activities from previous units. It would be great to rotate some of those with the activities shown on the shelves right now.
More Free Crocodilian Printables and Activities
Montessori-Inspired Crocodilian Pack for DIY Cards and Counters, Number or Letter Matching, Number or Letter Basket, Bead Bar Work, Hands-on Math Operations, Number or Letter Salt/Sand Writing Tray, Letter Tracing, DIY Movable Alphabet, and Creative Writing (subscriber freebie, so just sign up for my newsletter to get the link and password – or check your inbox if you’re already a subscriber).
Montessori-Inspired Alligator Pack for DIY Cards and Counters, Number or Letter Matching, Number or Letter Basket, Bead Bar Work, Hands-on Math Operations, Greater Than/Less Than Work, Number or Letter Salt/Sand Writing Tray, Letter Tracing, DIY Movable Alphabet, and Creative Writing (subscriber freebie, so just sign up for my email to get the link and password – or check your inbox for the current password if you’re already a subscriber)
Check out my post and video with hands-on, greater than, less than alligator math using part of our subscriber freebie pack and another free printable!
Helpful Animal Classification Posts
- Living and Non-Living
- Plant and Animal Sorting
- Montessori Animal Classification
- Free Zoo Printables and Montessori-Inspired Zoo Activities
- Montessori-Inspired Animal Units
Learn more about my eBook Montessori at Home or School: How to. Teach Grace and Courtesy!
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