Montessori Animal Shelf

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Montessori Animal Shelf for a Four Year Old

Are you looking for ideas on what to include in a Montessori Animal Shelf for your four year old? I am very lucky to have not one but two four-year-olds in my life. They love animals, they love books and they love it when I set their toys out in themes.

Montessori can be done on a budget and you do not need to throw all of your toys away and start again with wooden rainbows. I am sure Maria Montessori would be saddened to think this is what people think they need to do to start Montessori.

Our Montessori animal shelf contains a mix of old, new and some items which we are now stocking in our Etsy digital download store and our affiliate store. The majority of items we recommend are owned and loved by us so you can have peace of mind that our family has road-tested it first.

Please note that this post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase on my recommendation I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

In the spirit of money-saving, you should always shop from what you have before you set out to buy new. Your local charity and discount shops are also vital sources of materials on a budget. Since the pandemic and having to work from home I struggle to get out now so am missing out on all of those gems I used to find in my lunch break!

Take the tour of our shelves.

Animal Books

Our children love books. They cannot get enough of them. We literally have hundreds of them. This means that the girls struggle to maybe find the book they are looking for and can often get lost in their overcrowded bookcase. One of the things which have changed things for them this year is the Flisat bookshelf from Ikea. It is front-facing so the books are on display and it is easy for them to make a selection.

Shop our Montessori Animal Book selection
Montessori Animal Book Guide by sharlene SMITH

Montessori Three Part Cards

I love the concept of Montessori Three Part Cards and so do my children. I have become so frustrated trying to locate the exact ones that match our themes and materials so I have decided to make my own.

The files can be downloaded at our Etsy shop here. This set is optimised to go with the safari animals from Amazon. More cards are being added so please check back regularly.

Animal Figurines

These animals are part of a bigger set that I got from Amazon. It has safari/jungle animals, farm animals, and dinosaurs. They are the perfect scale for three-part card work.

We also have a lot of National Geographic animals which I got from Home Bargains. Unfortunately I bought these back in the summer so I don’t think they are stocked online anymore.

Safari, jungle, and farm animals are easy to obtain as they are the most common. If you would like to narrow the category of your animals you would need to look at the animals from Toob or Wild Republic. These are very specific such as Rainforest animals. You don’t get as many animals for your money but if you are trying to depict a specialist topic then these are my go-to products.

If your children are a fan of sea animals, have a read of my water play activity here.

Games & Puzzles

We are huge fans of Orchard Toys in our house. I don’t think we own a game that isn’t loved. The Orchard Toys Animal Families matching game is great fun. It is easy enough for the kids to play unassisted but still challenging enough to make them think. At less than £5 it is also the perfect gift.

We also have the Orchard Toys Build a Beetle Game which is more challenging as the pieces have an exact order which must be followed. It can be a little frustrating at times but it is slowly increasing our patience level.

We also have a Melissa and Doug 3 metre long animal train puzzle which we have had forever. It is really challenging but is a winner everytime.


My girls are not quite four yet so a bit early for perfecting their reading yet. They do however love to give things a go. This Melissa and Doug See and Spell Puzzle Set is a great tool to foster their interest in reading.


We always have some sort of sorting activity out and these sorting bears are a hand me down from big brother.

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