DIY Montessori Sandpaper and Continent Globe

I have recently made a sandpaper globe and continent globe for Jiejie. She has been interested in the continents song that we play over Google Home. The version we like is by Rachel Coleman.

To buy a sandpaper globe or a continents globe isn’t cheap. Each one is about $45, plus shipping if you order somewhere else other than Amazon or when you don’t have Amazon Prime. I have decided to make my own.

Let us first see what these are used for, and if you can afford them, if it’s more practical for you to make them, or to buy them.

In Montessori, isolation of concepts and providing concrete objects to manipulate are important. For the sandpaper globe, the main thing that it teaches is the difference between land and water. A child of about 2.5 years old can be introduced to the sandpaper globe. You feel it with your fingers, and let her know that the rough parts are land, and the smooth blue parts are called water. The globe is a representation of where we live, Earth. There isnt any more extensions that can be done with the sandpaper globe.

The continents globe is a globe with the continents colored as such:

North America – orange
South America – pink
Africa – green
Europe – red
Asia – yellow
Australia – brown
Antarctica – white

Before you focus on teaching countries, or states within our country, it is easier for a younger child to focus only on the seven big continents that make up the world. There is more to the continents globe than the sandpaper globe, that’s for sure.

To make it myself, I bought 2 globes for under ten dollars each. This is the one I got. I already have some tubed acrylic paint, so I used those. I took some sand from our local beach for the sandpaper globe. I baked the sand in the oven to “sterilize” it.

First I painted the water of the globes blue. I used a finer-tipped brush for the edges so I can get the edges right, as well as around the little islands. When they were dry, I painted the land areas with modge podge, using a smaller brush on the edges so it would be more accurate, and sprinkled sand on it one section at a time. When that was dried, I layered it again. It took about 3 layers until I was satisfied at how raised the sand looked compared to the water.

For the continents globe, I used the colors on each continent I mentioned above, using this free 3-part card from Imagine Our Life as a guide.

And that was it! The whole project took two nights, about an hour each. It wasn’t difficult for me. The only thing about this is the drying time. I had to wait until the first layer is totally dried before I could add another layer, or else it would not come out smooth, but crumbly, especially with the sand. This was why it took two nights. I had to make sure it’s totally dried before adding the next layer.

Some people use bigger-sized globes. You do not have to. I can see the use of a bigger one when we get into more detailed discussion about the names of the countries or capitals within the countries and states. The 6-inch globe is perfect for these sandpaper and continents globe.

Give it a try! It isn’t that hard, really. 🙂 Thanks for visiting!

3 thoughts on “DIY Montessori Sandpaper and Continent Globe

Add yours

  1. I’m so inspired that you DIY’d the sandpaper globe! It seems pretty doable given the steps that you have outlined. I will have to bookmark this to try when we return back to the geography this school year. How has the sand held up over time – is it rubbing off at all?


    1. Not at all!!!! I scrubbed it hard after it dried to make sure no more would come off. The trick would be to put a coat of glue and a thin layer of sand, and repeat. One section at a time. This will ensure that all of the sand has enough glue to adhere on. It is very doable! It would also make it easier when the globe you’re working on is not too big.


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