All three of my grandchildren love, love, love rocks! So our newest unit is a rocks and minerals unit. I’ve also added a new Montessori-inspired rocks and minerals pack to our resource library for newsletter subscribers!
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Montessori Shelves with Rocks and Minerals-Themed Activities
You’ll find Montessori-inspired rock and mineral 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)
I always have related books available throughout a unit. On the top shelf, I have the National Geographic Kids Rocks and Minerals (National Geographic Kids’ books are always some of my favorites.) I also have the gorgeous Rocks Minerals & Gems book.
You could mix your rock and mineral themed activities among your shelves according to curriculum area. Or you could have a special rock and mineral themed area something like the one pictured. My shelves this month have a mixture of skill levels. Many of the activities can be adapted for a variety of levels. 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.
National Geographic Kids Rocks and Minerals Book with Rocks and Minerals 3-Part Cards
Free Printable: Rocks and Minerals Classified Cards from Little House in the Suburbs
I was able to store the cards and labels in this Montessori cards display box without taking up much space on my shelf!
Birthstone Syllable Counting
Free Printable: Birthstone Syllable Counting from Rocks and Minerals Unit Language Printable from Every Star Is Different
You can see this work on my top shelf. I’m planning to get inexpensive birthstone crystals, since it’ll be used a lot! My 5-year-old granddaughter, Zoey, loves crystals, so it’ll be a great activity for teaching her the birthstones and how to spell the names of the months. For younger children, it would be great for teaching the names of the months. If you won’t be using the activity as much, clothespins or another type of markers, such as the ones pictured, can be used.
S is for Sedimentary and Sandstone Sand Writing Tray
Free Printables: Sandstone image from the above classified cards for writing tray
For the sand tray (see middle shelf above), I used the wooden tray from the Melissa & Doug Lace and Trace Shapes. You can use whatever tray or container work best for you, though. I included the image and a real sandstone 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.
Igneous, Sedimentary, and Metamorphic Rock Sort
Free Printables: Igneous, Sedimentary, and Metamorphic letter font cards (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)
This activity was super simple to prepare using the printables and a rock kit! I placed the font cards and Toysmith Rock Science Kit on a Multicraft tray. (I also have the Toysmith Mineral Science Kit that I’ll use later in the unit.) I like that these kits are inexpensive yet have a nice variety of rocks and minerals.
I used the font cards as heading cards for the igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks from the rock science kit. The chart that comes with the kit makes it very easy to sort the rocks.
Later on, you could switch the activity. One way is to use a sorting tray to sort the rocks into igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic. I like to include a book for interest, such as the beautiful book A Rock Is Lively. This book is recommended for elementary-age children, but it can easily be adapted for younger children as well. I love this whole series of nature books.
Rock and Mineral Spelling with Montessori Movable Alphabet and Printable Rock-Themed Movable Alphabet
Free Printable: Shale Rock Movable Alphabet (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)
Free Printable: Rocks and Minerals Spelling List from the Rocks and Minerals Unit Language Printable from Every Star Is Different. You could cut apart the pictures for the initial spelling work, although they’ll be small. Older children can work on analyzing the words and using the word lists as spelling lists.
For the movable alphabet work, I used a traditional small wooden movable alphabet. You can just use the shale rock movable alphabet for word building, or you can match letters from the two sets.
On the shelf, you can’t see the letters in the Montessori Services basket very well from this angle, but those are the shale rock movable alphabet letters from my subscriber pack.
Amethyst Division Activity
Free Printables: Amethyst Numbers and Symbols for a Division Equation (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)
Free Printable: Amethyst Card from Pikes Peak Rock Shop
I used 20 tumbled amethyst stones to makes a hands-on activity dividing numbers by 2.
There are enough amethyst stones in the set I bought to make DIY Montessori cards and counters using the number cards and amethyst stones for a younger child.
I love to teach division as a sharing exercise. Zoey and her 19-month-old sister, Sophia, enjoyed some hands-on sister sharing. Zoey would choose a number (12 in the photo) and share the amethyst crystals equally (“One for you, one for me, one for you, one for me….”).
After sharing all the crystals, Zoey counted how many each had and placed the answer card on the equation. Both girls found it interesting, and Sophia especially enjoyed being included.
Note: I don’t leave small objects like these out for my toddler grandchildren, and I don’t recommend that small objects be available to toddlers without direct and constant supervision. I only used these because I was so closely supervising the activity. Sophia’s at that sensitive period where she’s especially drawn to small objects, and it’s nice when she can be included. She just felt each amethyst and didn’t put any in her mouth, although that might not have been the case if they had been left out. Even if your toddler doesn’t normally put things in his or her mouth, it just isn’t worth the risk.
Famous Rocks Around the World 3-Part Cards with Cut-and-Paste Activities
Free Printable: Famous Rock Formations from the Pinay Homeschooler
Free Printable: Printables from Free Rocks and Minerals Unit from Homeschool Den
I placed both the famous rock formations 3-part cards and printed pages from the rocks and minerals unit on a tray. I added scissors and glue for a cut-and-paste activity using the pages. First, I’d have the child use the 3-part cards to learn about famous rock formations.
I used colored pencils to place a colored dot corresponding to the rock formation’s continent on the back of each control card. So, in addition to matching the images and words, the child can sort the 3-part cards by continent. I also added the Montessori continents globe. An elementary-age child could use a regular globe to find each actual place using the word labels.
Free Rocks and Minerals Printables for Preschoolers through First Graders
Montessori-Inspired Rocks and Minerals 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 email to get the link and password – or check your inbox if you’re already a subscriber).
The links are for free rocks and minerals printables for preschoolers through early elementary. I don’t share coloring pages unless a page has a specific educational purpose related to rocks and minerals.
- Rock Cycle Printables from Homeschool Den
- Rocks and Minerals Printables from Every Star Is Different
- Geology Rocks! Unit from Preschool Powol Packets
- Rock Identification Printable (subscriber freebie) from Teach Beside Me
- Rocks and Minerals Units from Homeschool Share
- Online Printable Newsletters from Rock Hound Kids
- Gemstone Bookplates from Design Sponge
- Rock Identification Printable from Enjoy Teaching
- Rocks and Minerals Printables from Teachers Pay Teachers
More Rocks and Minerals Resources
- Simple Excavation Sensory Tubs
- Rocks and Minerals Unit Study
- Story Stones – Farm Animal Families Treasure Basket
- Rocks and Minerals/Geology Unit Study Pinterest Board
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