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Montessori-Inspired 3-part Cards for the Safari Ltd DESERT Toob Animals

Learn about the American Desert as you explore and play with Safari Ltd Desert toob animals.  Free printable matching cards for the toob.

This post was originally published on June 14, 2014 and was updated on February 21, 2021.

I've been slowly working to update all my old Safari Ltd toob matching card printables.  Today's feature, the American Desert Toob was one of the very first printables I made for this blog nearly seven years ago!  (I can't believe I've been blogging so long)  Since 2014, my family has enjoyed the little plastic creatures from Safari Ltd for homeschooling.  We base many of our lessons off of the toobs' creatures.

The American Desert Toob features 12 pieces that are about 2 inches tall- an explorer person, a coyote, a prairie dog, a mountain lion, a big horn ram, a scorpion, a bobcat, an armadillo, a roadrunner, a horned lizard, a rattlesnake, and a saguaro cactus.  Matching cards for everything but the person are included in the printable at the bottom of this post.  But first, here are seven hands-on ways you can teach your child about the American desert biome.


Books, toys, ideas, and more for learning about the American desert with Safari Ltd toobs


1- Read Some Great Books
Take a tour of the Texas desert with the "Armadillo Rodeo".  Learn about all the plants and animals in the area with the "American Deserts" guide book.  Cactus Hotel talks more about the animals in the desert, who take shelter inside and near the saguaro cactus.  Explore even more about deserts with Cat in the Hat and his "Why Oh Why are Deserts So Dry."

2- Play with a Sensory Bin
The Safari Ltd Desert Toob figurines make great additions to your sensory bin.  Use sand or cornmeal as the substrate and pile in the animals to give kids a chance to explore the desert environment for themselves.  Add a few scoops and funnels for even more fun.  To keep the mess down, I recommend placing the sensory bin on a cookie sheet or tablecloth.

3- Practice Writing
While you have the cornmeal out of the cupboard, sprinkle a bit in a shallow tray and use a cactus writing pen to scribble some letters in the sand.  This method is particularly good for kids who are reluctant to practice writing because they want to make every permanent mark absolutely perfectly.  If your kid makes a mistake, they can just shake the tray and make it as if it never existed.


FREE Printable Letter Cards
(coming soon)


4- Dig into Some Animal Anatomy
The Safari toob includes two species of large cats- mountain lion and bobcat, as well as several other mammal varieties.  Explore their inner workings with this interesting cat anatomy model.  If your kids are more interested in coyotes, they might enjoy the dog model instead.

5- Grow a Cactus
Did you know that Saguaro Cacti can live for 200 years?  That's amazing!  Your family can experience the wonder of hearty cacti in your own home with a cactus growing kit.  To learn more about desert plants, check out this book about Cactus and Succulents.

6- Learn About Rattlesnakes
The king of all venomous snakes in the Western USA is the rattlesnake.  There are many ways that kids can learn about the snakes, depending on their own interest and temperament.  Sensory seekers may enjoy putting glue on their arms, allow it to dry, and then peel it off to demonstrate how snakes shed their skin.  Grab a real rattlesnake rattle to show kids what to expect when they hear that rattle in the wild.  Play the Rattlesnake Jake game to have some silly fun with these slightly scary reptiles.

7- Explore Other Scary Animals
Rattlesnakes aren't the only "scary" animal in the desert.  Introduce your kids to scorpions (and talk about how they glow under black light), California Condors, and tarantula spiders.  You could even get one as a pet (if you dare) for some close up observation.

8- How do Animals Survive in the Desert
An amazing amount of animals live and survive in the desert.  How do they do it?  Do they have big ears for cooling off like the jack rabbit?  Or maybe they only come out at night like the coyote?  Explore how much rainwater the desert gets and the animals that live there through lots of questions, books, and Youtube videos.

Learn about the American Desert as you explore and play with Safari Ltd Desert toob animals.  Free printable matching cards for the toob.



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After you've put in your email address into the box, check your inbox for the confirmation email.  Open the email and click on the button to confirm your subscription.  You'll get a second email with a link to download the printable.  Download the PDF from the protected page.  Print the first two pages twice and laminate them for long-term use.  Then, cut out all the cards and separate them by sets (8 in each identical pile).  Leave one set of cards exactly as they are- with the picture and label attached.  With the second set of cards, cut the label off the pictures to make two piece.  The card with a picture and label, the card with just a picture, and the card with the label now make the three parts of the traditional Montessori 3-part cards.

Learn about the American Desert as you explore and play with Safari Ltd Desert toob animals.  Free printable matching cards for the toob.

Once you have the three cards, you can present them to your child in the traditional Montessori method.  Have the child match the picture card with the label to the other two cards.  They can also match the Safari Ltd Desert toob animals to the picture cards or label the figurines with the cards.  The child can also spell out the words with a movable alphabet like printable cards or shaped letters.

You can also chose not to separate the picture from the label to make a set of cards for a classic memory match.  You can your child can take turns choosing two cards and seeing if they're a match.  If they are a pair, then that player gets to keep them.  If they're not a match, the player must turn them over and the other player gets a turn.

You may also want to print just one copy of the cards and allow your child to match the Safari Ltd Desert toob to the pictures.  Together, you can talk about the animal names, where they live, and sort them by type.  The figurines are great in messy play, sensory bins, and more!  My kids love to play with them, especially outside.

Did you like what you read?  Want to save it for another day?  Be sure to Pin It to Pinterest!  Look for the red box in the upper left corner of the pictures to save them.


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Learn about the American Desert as you explore and play with Safari Ltd Desert toob animals.  Free printable matching cards for the toob.Learn about the American Desert as you explore and play with Safari Ltd Desert toob animals.  Free printable matching cards for the toob.

Learn about the American Desert as you explore and play with Safari Ltd Desert toob animals.  Free printable matching cards for the toob.Learn about the American Desert as you explore and play with Safari Ltd Desert toob animals.  Free printable matching cards for the toob.

Learn about the American Desert as you explore and play with Safari Ltd Desert toob animals.  Free printable matching cards for the toob.




Free printable matching cards for the Safari Ltd toob animals





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