The Montessori elementary zoology Animal Story Cards make a fun card game using cards that you can make or buy at a Montessori supplier (with the elementary materials and or earth sciences materials). One side of the card has a picture of an animal.
The other side has a short description told like a little story.
1. Have all the cards in a pile with the pictures face down, (if you have many children, this can be done in a circle or small group with everyone taking a turn to read a card out loud).
2. Read the first card aloud (and do not peek at the picture)!
3. The other children try to guess which animal it is. If a child is doing this alone, she tries to guess what the animal is before turning the card over.
Below are the Montessori animal stories (for the study of the First Knowledge of the Animal Kingdom).
Has no leg, but many vertebrae which help it to slither along. It has
a large mouth with which it gorges huge prey without masticating, and
later it digests it slowly. Those which live In Europe sleep
(hibernate) in the winter, while those which live in warm countries sleep during
summer. Do you know what it is called?
I live in the arctic waters with many of my companions, but really I am
a mammal. My fur is covered with an oil so that water can’t penetrate
my body, and when I go in the water I can close my eyes and nostrils.
I also entertain children in the zoo and in the circus. What am I
It has long, pointed wings which make it an excellent flier. It also
makes a special sound called a “coo”. It eats grains but nourishes its
young with a special liquid food it prepares in its crop (def: a pouch
which stores and prepares food for digestion in grain eating birds).
Belongs to the family of songbirds, the little birds which cheer up our
lives with their song. He is tiny with minuscule legs and four toes,
three of them protruding in front, one in back. Frequently builds his
nest on the turrets of country houses. Do you know its name?
It is the king of birds a well as the national bird of many nations.
It lives on mountain peaks and nests in hidden, inaccessible places. It
has a fierce look, large wingspread and long toes with sharp talons.
Do you know what it is called?
Has a long tail. It s skin is yellow and black and shiny. It is found
in the grass after rains. It does not like the heat. Do you know
what it is called?
Do I have to introduce myself? I’m not such a nice fellow. When I am
born I start out as a maggot living on decaying things. Then when I
become an insect with wings, I fly around, often carrying germs with me.
Maybe it would be better if I didn’t exist.
The bird has four toes, two anterior and two posterior, which help it
to cling to trees; and strong pointed peaks in order to dig out insect
larvae from the tree trunks. It is a very useful bird, do you know what
it is called?
This fish may be as long as nine feet. They are caught very much in
Sicily where the places are called tonnare. The meat is good to eat and
we find it canned.
I live attached to the rock but not alone because of my sisters keep me
company. My body is full of holes through half of which the water
with food enters my body, and so I am being nourished. When I am dead I
serve to wash your face. What is my name?
My color is brown. I was the first insect to appear on the earth. In
the daytime I hide and at night I come out in search of food around old
kitchens. Wherever I am, people try to destroy me without success.
I’ve been around for millions of years.
It is the largest living bird but cannot fly. For this reason it has
very small lungs but very large and strong legs that make it a very fast
runner. It also has only two toes on each foot. The legs and neck
are very long, making it the tallest of all birds. The feathers are
called plumes and are highly prized by man.
I don’t live alone but with many, many companions in a big hive which
has many little cells. I nourish myself with the nectar of flowers and
with it I prepare our food for the winter – which you too like very
much because it is sweet, sweet. What is my name?
I am very similar to a horse. I have a beautifully striped coat. I
live in Africa. I am the fastest runner. My nails are enormous and are
My body is protected by a very hard shell. I have two big claws and
eight legs which can be used for walking forwards and backwards. If one
of my legs is lost, I can even grow another. I’m so good to eat, many
people like to catch me. What am I called?
This unusual animal resembles both mammals and birds; mammals because
it gives mile to its young and has fur like a beaver, and yet it has a
wide bill and webbed feet like a duck. It lives near the water in
Australia and Tasmania.
Has four legs, the two posterior ones are very strong enabling it to
jump and what’s more, to climb up on a leaf and stay on it taking a rest.
It has a slimy, naked skin. Its young are different from mama and
are called tadpoles. Do you know what it is?
I live in the trees where I find all that is necessary to feed and
defend myself. I have long arms and legs with hands and a prehensile tail
which I can use as an extra hand. For this reason I can swing and jump
easily from one tree to another. I know how to play and do
I have two lives. For a long time I am a caterpillar
eating leaves, flowers, fruits and seeds. Later, I construct a little
case with two walls which is called cocoon. From this I emerge with a new
dress, more beautiful than velvet and silk, and four magnificent
wings. What’s my name?
I have two magnificent transparent wings, like to fly over ponds and
pools, and nourish myself with insects. I don’t eat much but I do eat a
lot of mosquitoes. Do you know my name?
I look like a star, but I’m not. I even have a mouth and with my
strong arms, I can open a clam underwater and eat it. If I loose an arm, I
can even regrow it. When I die and dry out you can find and collect me
along the beach. Do you know what I am called?
The skin of this animal is covered with leathery scales that are horny
and ridged along the back. It has a long, flat head with strong jaws
and numerous, sharp teeth. Short, sturdy legs allow it to move rapidly
on land while its massive tail is used for a rudder and makes it a
string swimmer. It lives in war, moist climates, and when the rivers are
dry, it hibernates.
It is a migratory bird who in winter goes to Africa in search of
warmth. It feeds itself on insects which it finds in the water, and for this
reason it has a long, tapering bill and long, slender legs. It builds
its nest near water but very high up, such as treetops or chimney tops.
Has a body completely covered with shiny scales. It has four short
legs and a long tail and likes to wander on sunny walls. If he is taken
by his tail, he can abandon it and the tail will grow again. In the
water he hibernates.
I am so tiny that you can’t even see me with your naked eye. And yet
there are so many of us that all together we can form mountains. My
body is made up of many rays, so for this reason I am called…?
I have a special pocket in front called a pouch, in which I carry
around my young. As you see, I can sit back on my hind legs and tail, and
instead of walking I move around by jumping and leaping with my strong
hind legs. And now, what am I called?
With my feet and my mouth I construct a magnificent web which is called
spider’s web. In this the flies and mosquitoes become entangled –
therefore you shouldn’t destroy me. Remember that I am useful to you. Do
you know my name?
Many believe that I am a fish, but really I am a mammal. In fact I am
the largest animal in the world and can weigh as much as 150 tons. As
you see, I have a very large mouth and my nostrils are on the top of my
head, so that when I breathe I form a spout of steam in the air.
I have a long, beautiful mane and tawny brown skin. I range over
plains, deserts or hilly country, sleeping by day and hunting by night. They
call me the king of the jungle. I am very strong and when someone
makes me angry, I roar. Do you know what I am called?
It is a very useful bird to man and was first domesticated a very long
time ago in Asia. It has three strong front toes that are used for
scratching about, and a back toe placed high up. The male has a “comb” on
his head, beautiful plumage and tarsi (heels) complete with spurs.
It belongs to the family of web-footed animals because the three front
toes are connected by a membrane, and for this reason it is a good
swimmer. Above its tail is an oil sack which it uses its bill to spread
oil on the feathers to keep them dry. The make has beautifully colored
I am beautiful. I look like a bride with a huge veil that keeps me
afloat In the middle of the sea. I am so pretty that you always want to
take me in your hands. But be careful because I sting like a nettle.
Do you know what I am called?
I belong to the family of rodents because four of my incisors (teeth)
are made to gnaw otherwise they keep on growing. Therefore I beg you to
always give me something to gnaw, or I’ll become ill. My fur is
beautiful and soft. Do you know what I am called?
Has a strong shell that covers its whole body, and even support a
child. This carapace has openings for the head, legs and tail which are
usually covered with scales. It nourishes itself with large quantities of
insects as well and land and aquatic plants. There are no teeth in
its mouth, but its jaws cut like scissors. Do you know what it is
Is a large mammal who lives in the water along the coat of India,
nourishing itself on algae. Do you know the legend of the mermaids
whose singing caused the sailors to shipwreck? Perhaps the ancients
were referring to this animal whose upper body part resembles ours and
whose lower part resembles that of a fish. The sound that it emits is like
a song and it appears only at night.
This animal lives especially in the northern seas. However, in the
spring it goes upstream in the river to deposit its eggs. The river
richest in this fish is the Volga, which is found in Russia. The eggs are
excellent and sold as caviar.
Like all fish, I live only in water and have changed little in millions
of years. My fins are large and wing-like and I have gill slits on
each side of my head. I am a very voracious eater with sharp teeth and
both man and animal fear me. Do you know what I am?
I’m not beautiful but I’m a great help to anyone who cultivates the
land. I dig out long tunnels in the soil and then I leave it lighter and
better than before. For this reason, even if I’m not pretty don’t ever
kill me but learn my name instead.
During the day I sleep and will awake only after sundown to fly away in
search of food. I have wings, yet I am not a bird. I have no bed to
sleep in but I suspend myself from the rocks and rafters by hold on
with my toes. During winter I withdraw into caves and pass the cold time
by sleeping. Tell my name.
I have many feet but really many, and I run underground. Do you know
I want you to know that my life is very complicated. Fro three years I
live underground in the form of a little worm eating the roots of
plants. Then I construct a little case and sleep in it for a while. And
then, finally, I am born a second time with beautiful ruddy wings, and I
fly around trees in the month of May.
I am very plentiful in all seas and particularly along the Atlantic
shore line where I bury myself in holes along the beach. Sometimes you
can see my holes at low tide, or collect my empty shells. I am very good
for making soups and chowders. Do you know what I’m called?
A fish has a body similar to that of an eel, with dark designs
standing out on this grey coloring. It is about 3 feet long,
carnivorous, and found in the swamps of Africa. During the dry season, it lives
buried in the mud and breathes by means of a swim bladder that functions
like our lungs.
I choose to live by night because I don’t like the light. I’m not
blind but my eyes are very tiny. I live underground in burrows with long
tunnels which I dig out with my strong, curved front feet. I feed on
insects that I find in the ground.
This mammal belongs to the family of edentates which, instead of teeth,
have long snouts, and long sticky tongues. It nourishes itself only
with ants it catches with its long, sticky tongue. It is found in
Africa and South America.
(The stories above are from my Montessori elementary training and album.)