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Introducing 3-Part Cards (and a Giveaway!) CLOSED

Sweet Pea is 4 years old.

From: 3-part cards are another classic Montessori activity.  I was excited when I found a free set of frog 3-part cards from the Montessori Print Shop and decided to try them right away.



  • Separate the set into 3 piles: “Pictures with Labels”, “Pictures without the Labels”, and “Labels Only”.  Shuffle the piles.
  • Sit near your tot on the floor or at a table with quite a bit of room.
  • Start with the “Pictures with Labels” pile.  Select a card, read the label and then place it on the floor or table.  Read the next card and hand it to your child.  Invite them to place it on the floor next to the first card.  Repeat with the remaining cards in the pile.

  • After all of the “Pictures with Labels” are on the floor, start on the “Pictures without Labels” pile.  Select the top card and say, “Hmm, where is the matching picture?”  Search the “Picture without Label” cards until you find the matching “Picture with Label” card.   Read the label again (“This is webbed feet.”)  as you place one card below (or next to) its mate.  Let your tot do the next card on his own.  Repeat with the rest of the cards.

  • Lastly, after all the “Pictures without Labels” cards have been correctly placed, start on the “Labels Only” pile.  Select a label from the pile and search for the matching label on the “Pictures with Labels” cards.  When you find it, read the label again (“Webbed Feet”) and place it below the correct “Picture without Label”  card.  Let your tot try the next one and repeat with the rest of the labels.


Observations: Wow!  Sweet Pea loves these 3-part cards.  We have done a lot of sets and she has started making special requests (“Can we do 3-part cards about the moon?”)


When I first read about 3-part cards, I thought they were a little too close to flash cards for my taste, but in practice they are much better than that.  Sweet Pea loves searching for the matching cards.  I think she considers it more of a game.

This has been one of Sweet Pea’s favorite activities lately and I would highly recommend 3-part cards for older preschoolers.

Notes from the Trenches:

  • It is a good idea to only introduce 1 or 2 new words at a time.  If a set contains many unfamiliar labels, remove a few of those cards before proceeding.  Slowly add the new cards back in as your tot gains familiarity with the subject.  For example, the tomato set had several labels that were new to me (endocarp, exocarp, mesocarp, funiculus, and placenta).  Sweet Pea had a very difficult time remembering any of these names.  I wish I had only thrown in a couple of these more difficult ones with the more familiar “leaves”, “seeds”,  and “stem” cards.

  • If only I had a color printer…  Some of the cards (Flowers, Birds) are fine without color.  However, in some of the sets it is very hard to distinguish one card from another when everything is in gray scale (Cars, Internal Organs).  I used colored pencil to fill in the appropriate parts, but it was tedious.
  • We’ve gone a little crazy with 3-part cards around here.  If you start printing a bunch of sets, you may want to check out this post on how to create cute little folders for them at Montessori Candy.  Below is a picture of one of our folders.

Rating: 3 Stars * (Fun, Easy, Frugal)

When I was preparing this post, I wrote to The Montessori Print Shop asking if they would be interested in giving away some free cards to my readers.  They said that they would give both a reader and myself 5 sets of cards!   I selected Flowers, The Sun, Internal Organs, Car Parts, and Birds.   The winning reader gets to select any 5 sets of 3-part cards they want from the Montessori Print Shop.

How to Enter: Visit the nomenclature and/or the classified card section of the Montessori Print Shop and select 5 sets of 3-part cards that you find the most interesting.  Leave a comment on this post letting me know which 5 sets you want to receive if you win.

The Fine Print: This giveaway is for 5 different 3-part card sets.  The sets are in a .pdf format and will be emailed to the winner.  This giveaway is for U.S. Residents only.    You must leave a valid email when you submit your comment so I can contact you in the event that you win the contest.  I am using random.org to select the winning comment number from all of the valid entries.  The deadline for entry is Sunday, July 10, 2011 at 11:59pm Central Standard Time. Winners will be contacted and announced shortly thereafter.



64 comments to Introducing 3-Part Cards (and a Giveaway!) CLOSED

  • Stephanie

    Love this giveaway! I would like to win Birds, Fruits, Insects, Musical Instruments, & Woodland Animals. Thanks!

  • There are so many, and I had to stop myself from requesting the ones that *I* want to play with! We would love airliner, bat, helicopter, flag, and volcano.

  • lori

    i discovered you through the link at printshop. this is a great give-away yet so hard to only choose five. but five i have chosen : apple, pumpkin, butterfly , colors, and farm animals. these are themes i do every year. the cards would greatly enrich these units.

  • Robin

    I have no idea which 5 I would want – if I win – pick them for me!

  • Stefanie

    Hmmm.. so many to choose from! I would pick apple, pumpkin, musical instruments, farm animals, flower… thanks for the giveaway!

  • Thea

    I would love to have the nomenclature cards for:

    Skull, brain and eyes
    Human skeleton

    These would be a great addition to our classroom!

  • Maria

    This giveaway is so exiting, my children love working with 3 part cards. Most of my students are ESL learners and the cards do wonders for them. As a new school year is approaching I would love to have the Body, Skin, Internal organs, Brain and the Eye Nomenclature Cards. Every year I begin with self awareness and these cards would defiantly enrich our theme. Thank you!

  • Heather Brandt

    I like the woodland animals, 3 part musical instrument cards, Bean Seed Nomenclature Cards,Flower Nomenclature Cards, and Tree Nomenclature Cards.

  • Love this giveaway!! TY!!!
    I would pick Butterfly Life Cycle Cards and Charts, Insect Nomenclature Book, Human Body Nomenclature, Volcano Nomenclature Book, and Jellyfish Nomenclature Book

  • Michele

    Lovely giveaway. I would pick bird, butterfly, grasshopper, penguin, and eye.

  • Christy

    If I win I want the eye, internal organs, brain, parts of a flower definition cards, and pumpkin. I’m hoping I’m not too late–it’s 11 my time!

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