Landform Mat, Waseca Biomes

Geography 3-6, 6-9

Land and water forms are a fantastic way to inspire children to study geography. We had previously tried different options, as well as projects, but this is the work that stored this knowledge to permanent memory. It brings joy the children each time they use it.

This direct link to Waseca Biomes gives you $15 off on your purchase when you provide an email address.

How it works:

Landforms Mat – Waseca Biomes


Initially, you would have some manipulatives to learn basic landforms. In a Montessori environnement, children have at their disposal special trays with which they experience contrasts between land and water form opposites using 3D trays and water. They also use sandpaper cards, as well as 3 part cards representing each form.

Coloring chart, with control charts
Instructions booklet


After having some background knowledge, they can use the Landform Mat. We usually place the 3D pieces, review our land/water forms using the blue and brown labels on the mat, which reflect water and land.

New version 2020 will come with cards. I used the printables

If you are getting the newer 2020 version, it comes with colorful pictures and names of each land and water forms. I simply downloaded the black and white version. I think the children will be happy to color them eventually.

Using the book when doubting
Placing labels of water/land forms

Command Cards

Command cards to engage the children

When done with the labeling, we clear the labels from the mat, and start using the Commands Cards. The Command Cards are the most engaging parts. The child must follow directions written on the cards using small objects such as a car, a boat, or an airplane! They get to travel across the mat, in creative ways. Kinetic work aids with retention. I can attest that it is what helped my children to remember their forms. When traveling or looking at a map, they can tell me with exactitude what land or water form we are seeing. The Commands Cards come in 3 levels too:

  • Level 1: adequate for young learners (age 4-6) with adult reading assistance.
  • Level 2: adequate for learners who can read and have a solid knowledge on cardinal points. Assistance can be appreciated.
  • Level 3: mostly for independent learners who would enjoy challenges. The cards contain multiple actions sometimes.

Coloring and Labeling

Finally, the children are always happy to consolidate their knowledge with a coloring blackline of the work. This is for me an informal assessment. That is how I see what they’ve understood from their work. I see if the work will need guidance next time.

Working outside

Extra Resources

Please see below the extra resources I added to the work. A book is always a great bridge to connect the children to the materials. We find Water Land appealing and logical, great visuals. I also love these puzzles from Lakeshore Learning. The pieces are unique so it serves as control for errors. Instant correction ensures better retention, so piece doesn’t fit, the children know they got the wrong one! The realistic pictures help the children connect the abstract Landform Mat to reality. They can transfer this knowledge to real life. I hope this post inspired you!

An invitation to work

Ready for a lesson?


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