Wild Animal Silhouette Flash Cards (free printable)

wild animal

I recently shared another free printable that was images and skin/furs of these same 12 animals. They corresponded to a set of Toob animals I got!

I think silhouettes are pretty. So I wanted to make some silhouette cards as well. These cards have the name of the animals printed on the bottom of each card. These cards are about 3×4 inches in size. The PDF below is 3 sheets of standard-sized paper. If that size doesn’t work, let me know. I want to make resources that others can use too!

Here is the free printable of the animal silhouettes. Just click to download and print at home! I would cut these out, laminate them, then cut them again. Or print them onto heavy paper/card stock.


Montessori Activities for a Road Trip

montessori activities for a

I’ll be honest… If we are in the car for more than 15 minutes, I hand my 2-year-old the iPad. It used to be The Little Mermaid, but I’ve downloaded a handful of learning apps. So he plays those games in the car. Some of them teach 1+1+1=3 and other skills.

I don’t mind it for 20 minutes here and there. But I know that screen time should be limited, especially when it isn’t actively monitored.

In a few weeks, we are taking a weekend trip: it’s about 4 hours there and 4 hours back. (Old me would say “Great – That’s The Little Mermaid 2.5 times each way.”) It’s all about improvement, right? If it means watching a movie for part of the trip and doing activities for the other half, that’s improvement. If it turns into a full 4 hours of activities, that would be amazing! I just want to be realistic since he has gotten used to the iPad.

I’ve been searching and searching the web to find some ideas for car rides, particularly longer rides, like the one in a few weeks. And I’ve found a lot of great ideas. I want to share them with you!


  • Miniature white board with colorful dry erase markers. Alexander loves drawing on the little white board that we have. I’ll pack some colorful markers. It will be a nice surprise!
  • Throw-away camera. This is a big fat maybe. A disposable camera is always fun at every age. I’m just not sure he’ll be able to wind it up after taking a picture, which means we’ll have to help him after every picture! Maybe I can find one that keeps taking pictures. Then again, he will end up taking all 28 pictures in about 30 seconds!
  • Toy catalog. We get catalogs in the mail a lot, and I can also pick one up from Toys R Us (or something similar). He may like flipping through the pages and looking at all the pictures.
  • Pipe cleaners with buttons. He likes pushing pipe cleaners through buttons, and we have large buttons that would work well. I need to consider how to keep this activity from being messy.
  • Salt shaker with toothpicks. I have seen toothpicks that have a blunt end, and there is some sort of salt shaker where the toothpicks will fit perfectly. He might love that. Again, I need to find a way to corral the toothpicks without them falling all over the floor.
  • Crayons for windows. I don’t know if these even exist, but if they do, I think Alexander might like drawing on the car window (if it comes off easily). I should also test this out on a very short trip to see if (a) he can easily reach and (b) the color comes off easily. This is one of those things I should think through before just going for it!
  • Feathers. He might like putting feathers through the holes of the salt shaker as well. There may be another way to play with feathers. It will be something soft and flowy and pretty that he hasn’t played with before.
  • Sewing cards with yarn. I’ll laminate a few cards in different shapes. Then I’ll punch holes around the edges of the cards and include a piece of yarn with one end taped. He can use the yarn to sew through the holes in the card.
  • Felt board with cut-out shapes. I have a black felt board that I’ve already made. I will cut out a square, triangle, and so on. I may use a piece of white chalk to draw shape outlines on the board, and he can match the shapes to the outlines.
  • Wooly Willy. That’s the game where you use a magnetic wand to draw on the man’s face.
  • Metal pan with magnetic letters. We have a set of magnetic alphabet letters. He might enjoy arranging the letters on the metal pan.
  • Magnetic matching game. I’ll create a new matching game. I will tape the “board” part to a cookie sheet. Then I’ll magnetize the backs of the game pieces. And he’ll simply put the pieces onto the board.
  • Velcro fun. Grab a Velcro strip and stick little pieces of Velcro to the back of objects. He will love putting objects onto the Velcro strip and pulling them back off.
  • Books.


  • Small boxes of raisins
  • String cheese, cut in half lengthwise
  • Cheerios and Goldfish crackers (in a portable snack container)
  • Chocolate chips, as a treat
  • A sippy cup, just for the road (less mess)
  • Mini crustless PB&J sandwich bites (I’ll share a recipe post on this later!)
  • Blueberries


  • Ziploc bags for trash, toothpicks, dropped food, baby wipes, and so on
  • Animal sounds mixed CD. Make a CD that’s got some fun songs Alexander will like, plus a whole series of animal sounds. He might enjoy copying them and identifying the animal. (Plus, it will be the first time we’ve used the CD player in our car.)
  • Book on tape. Rent a few stories on CD that we can play in the car.

Wild Animal Flash Cards (Printable) – Sounds, Skin, and More

Wild Animal Flashcards

I found a tube of wild animals that had 12 different animals:

  • Jaguar
  • Lion
  • Giraffe
  • Rhinoceros
  • Hippopotamus
  • Crocodile
  • Tiger
  • Zebra
  • Bear
  • Camel
  • Gorilla
  • Elephant

I decided to use the little figurines to make a matching set of flash cards. There are 24 cards: 12 of them are just images of the animals, and the other 12 are images of the skin or fur of the animals. The PDF below has the skin/fur first, then the animal images. They are both in the same order, if you want to print them for yourself. Most of them are obvious, but a few might be confusing. Because of that, it may be a good idea to just use 5-6 at a time, at least at first. (For example, a hippo’s skin is similar to an elephant’s skin.)

Here is the Wild Animal Flash Cards PDF.

And if you want to buy the little figures, you can buy them here (affiliate link… you don’t pay any extra by using this link!).

Finally, here are the different sounds that each animal makes, if you want to play them while you show your child each figurine:



GIRAFFE (not sure!)





ZEBRA (not sure!)





DIY Color Gradient Tiles

DIY Color Gradient Tiles

This project turned out better than I expected! I’m so grateful my husband was able to help with cutting and sanding the wooden pieces for me. This project cost me about $2.50 because I only needed to buy the wood.

I found a wooden yard stick (it wasn’t a yard stick, but it was 3 feet long and about as wide as a yard stick) at Home Depot that I purchased. I also picked up two each of 5 color gradient paint chips.

The materials and tools were as follows:

  • 1 piece of wood (3 feet x 1.25 inches)
  • ruler or tape measurer
  • hand saw or jig saw
  • sandpaper
  • 2 sets of color gradient paint chips (or individual chips that form a gradient)
  • exacto knife, or similar
  • wood (or other strong) glue

Step One: I marked the paint chips to figure out how wide and long each strip of color should be. I wanted to make sure to cut off the text that was on the paint chips. That left me with a strip 5/8 inches wide. I knew that I wanted to leave some of the wood expose, so I figured 1-inch wooden chips would be sufficient.

Step Two: I marked the wooden stick at 1-inch intervals. My husband then sawed and sanded (by hand) the pieces for me.

DIY Color Gradient Tiles

Step Three: I marked and carefully cut the paint chips into strips.

DIY Color Gradient TilesDIY Color Gradient Tiles

Step Four: I used the wood glue that we had to carefully wrap the color strips around each piece of wood. Here’s a little video I made as a demo:

Step Five: Once completed, I placed the pieces in front of Alexander with the extra paint chips as playing cards.

DIY Color Gradient TilesDIY Color Gradient Tiles

The Game: For now, how we are using them is to match the colors. Here is a short video of Alexander matching colors:

The Goal: I want Alexander to create a gradient without the need for the paint chips. I may need to make some more wooden chips to fill in some of the gradient! For now, I think they are lovely and simple and a perfect way to introduce lights and darks.

Classroom Setup #3 October 2015

classroom setup 3

We got a second bookshelf! Yay! It’s the one on the right. And it quickly filled up. Oops. I want to keep things simple, with just 2 items per shelf.

I like that he can see outside during the day, but I feel like the broken blinds are a distraction. They are pricey to replace! I should really just invest in some cheap curtains, something that will brighten the “room”.

Another note…. I haven’t done it yet, but I really want to hang some pictures next to the left bookshelf. I also have a pile of books on the floor there, which I don’t like! I want to put up a tiny shelf for books. Or get a sweet little basket for the books. Either way, that needs to change soon!

The Left Shelf

classroom setup 3

classroom setup 3

Here you can see some of the cursive work we’ve been doing. I hand-wrote A-M and N-Z on two pieces of paper. Then I created some uppercase letters for him to match with. He gets A-M 100% of the time now! And N-Z is what we’ll work on this week. The green thing behind some of the letters is a small dry erase board.

classroom setup 3He still loves the Tower of Hanoi (the light/dark rings), the stacking owl puzzle, and the robot nesting dolls. That’s his favorite shelf, if I had to guess!

The third shelf is animal stuff: animal matching cards, 3 animal books, and a wooden “toy” that opens and shows a different bird on each side. It’s a bit young for him, honestly, but he likes to open it and say “bird” or “chick”. We’ll leave it there for now!

classroom setup 3

The bottom shelf is still “things that go“! He loves trucks, and we are learning the different types of tricks, like dump trucks and rigs and excavators and more.

The Puzzle Shelf

classroom setup 3

I don’t think much has changed with the puzzle shelf! I took away the foam letter blocks that were underneath. It makes it a little simpler on the eyes.

Also, you can’t quite see, but on the far right of the second shelf, there are some matching puzzle cards. They are numbered 1-5 and they match with the quantities 1-5. For example, “2 airplanes” matches up with the number 2 piece. It’s simple, but I want to expose him to quantity as much as possible.

The Right Shelf

classroom setup 3

classroom setup 3I wasn’t sure what to do with the top shelf, honestly. I want to frame a few things and have them displayed since he can’t really reach or see this shelf. The left is some coloring sheets and colors. (I love that wooden tray and would like to better use it!) The right tray is the leaf matching game.

classroom setup 3classroom setup 3

In a little basket, I’ve got some bendable wires, beads, and buttons. Alexander is able to string the wire through the beads much easier than a string. So it’s a good transition for us. He also tends to match the beads/buttons by color to the colored wires.

In the left bowl, there are some colored cubes. I don’t know what to do with them just yet. I thought he might stack them, but we can also work with quantity some more and do a “what’s out of place?” game. In other words, I’ll put 5 red blocks and 1 yellow and ask him which one doesn’t belong. I’m not sure if he’s ready for that, but we can try!

classroom setup 3You can see I’ve added a pouring station. Instead of leaving water out, I have some wool balls. He loves pouring! And this is easier for cleanup.

classroom setup 3I printed these flashcards from Mr Printables, and I added some 3D objects for him to match. For example, a small yellow ball matches with the SUN card. I don’t like this activity very much, but I can’t figure out how to make it better.

classroom setup 3On the bottom left, there’s a bin of empty bottles and their lids. He has to match the lids and also practice screwing the lids onto the bottles. He can match them easily and he can mostly unscrew them. But screwing them on is still a bit of a challenge.

classroom setup 3Finally it’s a few sheets of paper with a few different clothespins. He may not be strong enough to use the clothespins, but we are working on it!

I’m still trying to figure out this whole Montessori thing. This is the 3rd time I’ve arranged the classroom, and I know it will change over and over and over. I’m slowly learning as we go, and it is a blast!

Plans for the Week #2

Montessori Plans for the week template (1)

The last post goes through what we worked through last week. I noticed that we didn’t get to everything, and that’s okay. But because of that, I wanted to pare it down just a little this week. We have a few impromptu activities that pop up, in addition to puzzles and laundry and helping load the dishwasher.

Here are some ideas I have for this week and which category I’d put them in.

  • Alexander has started to dance again! He was on a dance hiatus for a few months there. He just refused to join in! So this week, now that he likes to dance some more, we’ll turn on some fun music, blow up some balloons (he loves hitting them around) and just dance. We’ll also probably do some songs with motions, like The Itsy Bitsy Spider.
  • Piggybacking on that idea, we will probably toss the balloons back and forth because it really helps with hand-eye coordination. He’s not great at catching a ball that’s tossed to him, but he can usually catch a balloon!
  • We will color. I have coloring pages and also blank white paper. We will both sit down and quietly just color. I’ve tried this with him several times, and he isn’t normally into it. It will be interesting to see if he ever latches onto the idea of coloring! (I assume he will, one day, but it’s not his thing right now.) I want to have crayons and markers available because I’m not sure which one is easier to use at his age.
  • Eventually I want to teach him how to folks shirts and pants and all things. But I think that starting with washcloths (basically a simple fold-in-half) makes sense. Then we can move onto hand towels and regular towels. And then we can move to t-shirts and more. I think that he will enjoy it, if he can focus on it! I have some cheap white washcloths that I can write on: I will draw a line down the middle of it to show him where to fold. And then we can practice with the other washcloths.
  • On top of reading to him each day, I want to keep working on the lowercase cursive. He has grown leaps since last week. They learn so quickly at this age! Next I want to try giving him opportunities to trace the letters. I’ll stick to simpler letters first. We may even start with basic tracing and not end up doing cursive letters for another year. I have no idea! I’m going to just roll with it.
  • Last week we tried working on quantities, but it didn’t go well. I want to work on that some more this week. I may start with just 1, 2, and 3. I’ll put 2 objects in front of him and ask, “How many?” And see if he can identify the number of things. If he is able to do that, we may try a matching sort of game with numbers and quantities.
  • He can still count to 13 but not beyond that. He can identify the number 20, but he can’t identify 14-19. Saying them is tough! But maybe if I say “Point to 17” he will be able to do that. It’s worth a shot.
  • We’ll do a little science exploration this week. I’m not sure how much explanation I need to offer. I feel like seeing and experiencing science is good enough at his age. To do that, I want to make some bubbles with soap and water. We can make bubbles with our hands!
  • Finally we should go to the plant nursery in town and talk about the different colors and shapes that we see. He may really enjoy just wandering and exploring the nursery. We have been once before, and he was mostly interested in the fountains that they had for sale. 🙂 This time I want to focus on the types of plants and trees that exist.

In a week I’ll write an update of what we actually do!

Weekly Recap 9.27.15 – 10.3.15

The Plans for the Week: We did about half! That tells me it was a little too ambitious. I’ll consider that tomorrow when I come up with the next weekly plan.

My husband went out of town this week, so we were on our own for 3 full days. Add to that a skin infection that knocked off our plans for 2 days, and we didn’t get through all the things I wanted to.

And that’s okay!

Here are some of the things we did this week, with links to the corresponding blog posts:


  1. Worked on the USA map puzzle
  2. Practiced lowercase cursive (via a matching game… see below!)
  3. Watched the lunar eclipse on the computer and went outside to find the moon (too much cloud coverage)

Letter Matching


  1. Leaf matching activity
  2. Practiced pouring water and scooping Cheerios
  3. Color matching with beads
  4. Tried matching the numbers 1-5 with quantities 1-5 << This one was not successful this week! As you can see below, I put 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 objects in 5 different bags. I wanted Alexander to identify how much objects were in each bag and then put the correct number next to the bag. Well, that didn’t work at all. So I tried asking him, “How many spoons (or trains or whatever) are in this bag?” And he just wanted to open the bags and take out the objects. I think the problem is that there were too many components/goals at once. I should try scaling back and work toward this activity in the future!



  1. Worked on animal flash cards. I added more animals since the last time we played, so he enjoyed that.


We did the best we could! We read and did a lot of puzzles. We went to the grocery store and did more cooking than usual. But I was tired, he was sick, and that’s when daddy was gone.


  1. New activity: Twisting Practice!

As you can see, we did a few things that were on the plan and a few things that were not. Ultimately, I need to leave a little more wiggle room in my weekly plan. But I refuse to be goal-less! We’ll have plans each week that span different learning categories. And we’ll do what we can, with room for extra unplanned activities!

Twisting Practice (with short video)

Twisting Practice

I post stuff on my Snapchat account sometimes, but I did not create a separate account for this blog. Most of my Snaps are food-related! But if you’re interested in following there, I’m “blwideas”.

Anyway, this activity is slightly advanced for Alexander, though other 2-year-olds may have no trouble at all. That’s one thing I love about Montessori. Most activities you find will NOT have an age suggestion. That’s because kids move at different paces. It’s one reason I want to keep Alexander at home for now, so I can follow his lead and play to his strengths and interests. Eventually he’ll learn to read, but it will be through activity and play and exploration. And he’ll learn in his own time, which I’m convinced will be sooner than “average”. Maybe I’m being a dreamer, but if we don’t have dreams and set goals, then we’ll never reach them!

What’s that saying… You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.

That’s sort of relevant here, right?

Moving right along! This activity is to practice fine motor skills because of the small caps but also gross motor skills because of the wrist and arm movement that you need to twist the caps onto the bottles.

Alexander was able to match the caps to the bottles, but he was not really able to twist on the tops. He would twist it back and forth and back and forth and wasn’t quite grasping the concept of twist, release, twist, release (does that make sense?).

We’ll practice some more! And when we run out of jam (which should be any day now), that will be another glass jar to add in. Ideally these would be all glass and not any plastic. For now, it’s what we have to work with!