Happy New Year.

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Well I don’t know about you, but when ever it gets to teh end of teh Christmas holidays I am in need of normality. The Christmas holidays are really a misnomer in modern day language, because, in this home at least, they are not holidays. Far from it.
But now, I am back to work, even though I have no voice. 🙂

On our Facebook pages, (you will see links at the bottom of any of our website pages), you will find all sorts of links to areas of interest to those who are passionate about children and education for all. Do follow the pages and have a good mooch around.

I have been asked if I can give details on how to make a D.I.Y Montessori tactile globe so I will attach it here.

These globes (There are two – one to differentiate between sea and land, and the other to differentiate between the continents) are amazing for the child, and in Montessori we start to use them with very small children.

Look them up on google image. But here below is how I made mine. Sorry no pictures but you’ll get the idea if you look up the google pictures. Added point if you want two separate globes, the land and see one can be done in the blue, and then gloopy sand only.


This project is designed for Montessori nurseries that have a limited budget but the desire to have as near perfect Montessori school as possible.
We all know how beautiful the Montessori apparatus is and how expensive. When there is a budget, it is necessary to justify every penny spent. This is why I made my first globe. It looked so beautiful that I was asked to make others and have since made quite a number.

I decided to write down how I did it for others in a similar position. Although time consuming, it is relatively simple if the instructions are followed carefully. Taking ones time is helpful, so holidays are good time to make this. The children like to be involved too, or at least mine did, and even the oldest enjoyed mixing the colours. I used it as a family lesson in geography, talking about plate tectonics, Pangea, volcanoes and earthquakes. We had great fun making it. The main thing to remember is to do it to the best of your ability so that even though it is an alternative, it is beautiful and truly Montessori.

As the first exercise with the globe was a tactile one, I did not feel it to be so important if there were colours or not. Usually the first exercise is done with the eyes closed so you don’t see the colours anyway. The colours do become important when one does later exercises and start to make a correspondence between the globes, your continent folders and of course, later, your maps. Therefore I decided to make the two globes as one.

However, if you want to be more exact, just make two globes, one coloured and one with a mix of P.V.A sand and a very pale beige to correspond to the tactile globe. It will not be the same as the sandpaper globe, but a perfectly acceptable alternative for a new nursery.
Have fun!!

You will need:
An old/second hand globe. Take the light out if it has one in.
Clean, fine silver sand.
Different sized brushes, flats and rounds.
Tubes of acrylic paints: Ultra blue
Cadmium yellow light
Cadmium yellow medium
Naphtol red/crimson
Titanium white
Earth brown
Leaf green
P.V.A glue, large bottle.
The P.V.A glue is vital for this project as it ensure that the colour stays on the globe, which you will usually find is plastic. It also ensures the sand stays on as, with the acrylic paint, it makes a waterproof finish to the globe when dry.
Old saucers/bowls.
Spatula for mixing.
Teaspoons and tablespoons
Etching tool, electric if you can borrow one.
Plastic bags large enough to hold your saucer or bowls.

Europe is red.
Asia is yellow.
Africa is green.
North America is orange.
South America is pink.
Australasia is brown.
Artic and the Antarctic are white.

You need to take out the light if there is one. You can do this by gently but firmly pulling the axis bracket away from the poles.
Put the axis bracket back on.
Get your etching tool and carefully mark round all of the continents and major islands.
Note, you cannot possibly hope to get all of the detail, what you are after is the general outline of each continent and major islands. Make sure you have all the continents marked. You will need to take particular care around Asia, the poles, and the Mediterranean.
When you have completed etching, (your hands will ache if you have used an etching tool), take a rest!

Carefully peel the paper off, try to take either the oceans or the continents off but not both, at first. You can use the continents, (or oceans) as a guide. Even if you have taken great care, it is amazing how confusing it can get when all the paper is gone.

Put a good tablespoon of P.V.A glue on an old saucer or in an old bowl. This is not an exact science, so if your globe is big, you will need more. The important thing is to ensure that you have plenty of mix, as you will need at least 2 coats of blue for your oceans. Squeeze about an inch of paint out on to the P.V.A. and mix it thoroughly so that all the P.V.A has taken on the colour of the paint.
(When you mix colours for the continents, you will follow the same method, mixing the colour with the P.V.A first). When the colour is completely blended in, taking a round-ended brush, carefully work around the continental edges on the topside of the equator.
When you have done that take a flat brush, and with smooth downward strokes, working from the Arctic Circle to the Equator, fill in the rest of the oceans. Do not be tempted to put it on too thickly, it will spread in a messy way, and you will still have to do more coats after.
Thin even coats are much more effective, and will produce a good finish at the end.

When you have done the Northern hemisphere, holding the globe upside down by its stand, balancing on the axis bracket, do the same from the Antarctic Circle to the Equator. Leave it to dry completely. As acrylic paints dry quickly, place the saucer or bowl in a plastic bag, twist the end, and suck out as much of the air out of the bag as possible. You can use the paint again later.
When completely dry, give everything another coat of paint. Leave it to dry again. Save your saucer/bowl again, you will need it for touching up when you are nearly finished.

Starting with Europe, mix your red paint with P.V.A and then add silver sand until you have a thick, gloopy mix. A little like royal icing in consistency.
Ensure that you have mixed in all the sand with the paint mix.
Taking a round brush first, take up your mix and gently place on to the smaller parts of the continent that you have previously marked. You can now see why you have to mark each continent carefully. If in doubt, it can be useful to have a children’s atlas to hand just to get the pattern shape correct. You also need to remember that Europe as a continent butts onto Asia, so you need to be aware, and mark with a pencil where that abutment occurs.

You will find that you can’t paint the mix, but you use the brush to push the mix into place. Later use the flat brush to fill in the main parts of the continent.

If your mix is too thin, you will get a brilliant demonstration of plate tectonics, in other words the mix will slip.

If your mix is too thick, you will find it goes off too quickly and you can’t work it so well.

If it is just right, you will see that it gently smoothes out at the edges, but wont slip down the globe. If it does start to slip, don’t panic, all is not lost. Lift the mix off with your brushes and perhaps cotton buds, give it a wipe before the paint dries and add more sand. If it is going off too quickly, add a little warm water and gently mix in completely. Complete Europe and then save the rest of the mix in a plastic bag, removing the air as before.

Asia comes next using the same method. A half and half mix of Cadmium Yellow Light, and Cadmium Yellow Medium, gives just the right yellow for this continent. This is a huge continent and the generous yellow mix you make can form the basis colour for some of the other continents. Save the mix as previously.

Africa is next. Take some of the Asia mix, and add Leaf Green, sand etc. Mix well. If it is too light add more green, if it is too dark add more yellow.

North America is next. Take some of your Europe mix and add some Cadmium Yellow Medium to get an orange. If it is too red, add more yellow, if it is too pale add a little red.

South America is next. Take some of your Europe mix and add Titanium White to make a pink. If it is too pink add more white, if it is too pale add more red.

Australasia is next. Mix Some Brown Earth with either your North America mix or with some of your Asia mix. You’re after a rich brown that doesn’t look too much like ‘pooh’, but has a richness that is attractive.  If it is too dark, add more yellow if it is too cold add some orange or even red. Don’t add white, it will look dreadful and you might have to start again.

Last but not least you make a little mix for the Arctic and Antarctic circles. Be aware that you usually only paint the actual land mass, but you could point out to the children that all of the Arctic Circle becomes frozen and produces a huge mass, but it is not land. For this reason, I usually paint just the top of Europe Asia and North America white to indicate that they are often considered, especially in winter to be part of the Arctic Circle. If you want to be more precise, get an atlas and check it out and do what it says.

You may get carried away, I usually do, and want to get all the continents done on one day. You can do this, and if you are going to use the mixes as bases for other continents, then doing it in one day does mean that you don’t have to remix if your mix has gone off, which it can if you haven’t stored it properly. If you are the more cautious type, as I should be, then make smaller mixes and just make up your colours as you go on. The problem with this I found though is that you can’t always get the colours to match exactly and so you have to do each continent at a time.

When your continents are dry. Take a round brush and just go round the edges of the continental plates with blue to finish off. You may even want to give the oceans another coat of paint.

Caring for your globe.
Obviously, as with all Montessori materials, the globe has to handled with care and respect.
However, if the worst should happen and you loose some of a continent or two, just make up a little mix and patch up. I usually refresh the colours once a year any way, and check that all is well. This means of course that you can patch up and colour so you can’t actually see where any repairs have been made if necessary.

Enjoy your globe, and the pleasure the children get from it.

If you have like this idea, get in touch and let me know. Pictures are welcome as are other ideas.

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