Montessori Zoo Animal Matching Cards

I love the simplicity of Montessori DIY activities and the use of realistic animals, yet I always have a hard time finding such materials. This is why this week I created my own animal Montessori DIY cards and I’m going to show you how you can do it too in less than 30 minutes.

Below is the DIY activity I made before I found these realistic flashcards at the dollar store that also work for the activity.


These Montessori DIY Zoo Animal cards are easy to make and offer a great opportunity for different learning activities.

  • Matching activities
  • Vocabulary Opportunities
  • Story Development
  • Body Parts
  • Habitats
  • And more…
montessori DIY

A Few notes about Mod Podge

I recommend using Mod Podge as opposed to school glue because school glue will make the paper wrinkle and you won’t get a flat finish. Mod Podge, which is a glue created for crafts is a lot thinner but stronger.

I am using a high quality glue for my project because it is what I had from the days I used to do art journaling as a hobby but Mod Podge will work great!

There are different types of Mod Podge you will find at the store, there are outdoor type, glossy, matte. I recommend Matte but it is your preference if you want to have the cards be glossy.


Cut out and trim the white edges on each animal card

Add about 1/4 tsp of Mod Podge to the wood

Place the cut out animal over the glued panel and add about 1/4 tsp of Mod Podge over the animal to completely cover the animal with glue making sure that the edges are completely sealed and the animal doesn’t have any creases.

let it dry completely before stacking them up one over the other. Use them with animal figurines to create a matching game. Print two of each and make a memory game!

Activity ideas using Montessori DIY Zoo Animal Cards

Matching activities

One of my favorite Montessori activities is to play matching games using 3D objects to 2D objects.

We purchased a set of zoo animal figurines and created matching animal cards for each.

Create an invitation to play using a large tray to hold the cards and the animals, and a smaller tray to hold the animal figurines inside.

Place the animals in the left and the cards to the right to mimic a reading motion from left to right.

Let your child review all the cards, all the animals figurines and try to match which add goes with which animal.

Memory Game

Print two sets of the animal flashcards and create a memory game.

Vocabulary Opportunities

Animal cards a great opportunity to work on vocabulary building, this can start as early as one year old. Some names like elephant and giraffe might be common names already learned through play but others like the moose might be new.

Some animals make sounds, like the gorilla might thump his chest! These is a great opportunity to work on animal sounds, what they eat and where they live.

You might be interested in a full week of zoo animal activities based on the book Goodnight Gorilla


Around 2-3 years old kids can start learning where each animal lives in the wild. Yes, we might find them at the zoo but in the wild where could we find them. Use the cards to learn about these different habitats and create activities around that.

Story Development

As pretend play starts to develop so does their imagination and ability to express themselves. Create stories with these animal cards, use them in sensory bins and as props while you read a book that features any of these animals.

Body Parts

The elephant has a trunk… can you identify the tusk? Animals have lots of names for their different body parts, use these realistic animal cards to practice and learn these.

final thoughts…

Using realistic animal props like these animal cards is a great tool for educational activities. Props don’t have to be expensive and sometimes with a simple DIY project that takes about 1 hr to do (including drying time) can offer an opportunity to learn in a new way.

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