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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

  • Plant, birds, butterfly, eye, horse – wow, there are a lot that I could really get into! These look like something that N could really get into! Thanks so much for introducing me to them!

  • Michelle

    We would love to try out Car, Egg, Human Body, Elephant,Seed to plant,and soooooo many more…was hard to narrow down 🙂
    Thanks for offering a great give away!

    chellestevens123 at g mail dot com

  • Christina

    The card sets I would choose to start with are: human body, tree, dog, butterfly, and horse. I can’t wait to introduce my toddler to these! Thanks!

  • Danielle

    I’m pretty sure my five year old would go bonkers over these. There are so many good ones to choose from….volcano, internal organs, skeleton, seed to plant, and airliner, I guess? (The Sun? I can’t find the sun. It’s probably my fault though. The sun also sounds like it would be a big hit.) Sweet Pea is getting so big!!

  • Lauren

    Human body, internal organs, insect, tree and flower… I could keep going! 🙂

  • Carrie Pendell

    These are great cards! I am interested in the brain, internal organs, skeleton, human body, and apple life cycle 3-part cards. mkpendell@yahoo.com

  • Cheryl Casser

    Everything you post here is used daily in our home! Thank you for yet another awesome idea. I would chose:
    Internal organs, Human body, flowers, insects, and color

  • Beth

    Love the giveaways! I would choose the Internal Organs, Human Body and insects. Thanks for all you do!

  • Jessica Blair

    Plant, birds, butterfly, eye, horse – Thanks so much for introducing me to them!

  • Dawna Nifong

    I would love to have the four seasonal sets – Autumn, Spring, Summer, Winter as well as the Montessori Materials set. I am a beginning Montessori teacher and would love to add these to my small collection of three-part cards. I find them a great way to introduce new material to my four-year-olds!

  • hi, i am currently working with orphans aged between 2 to 6 years @ the malawi montessori christian school out in africa (www.malawimontessoriproject.org). i feel these beautiful little angels would greatly benefit from these sort of resources and appreciate the feeling of being loved through being provided by a better education. Id love to win these so we can let them work with the lovely materials that you make:)i think they would be thrilled to have the flower cards set 1 and 2, and clothing, cookware and the building cards. i pray to god to win these. hopefully

  • Jess S

    I love Montessori Print Shop. The nomenclature cards that I would love to add to my collection is: bird, elephant, frog and turtle cards. The final set would be african rainforest animals. This is a wonderful giveaway. Thanks

  • Kelda Adair

    My five favorites would have to be the egg, bat, jellyfish, ladybug and turkey. These would make great additions to the classroom!

  • Mara

    Too difficult to find just 5! all are great! 1. Autumn Season, 2. Birds, 3. Butterfly, 4. African rainforest animal, 5. Musical
    Thank you!

  • Autumn, Woodland, Birds, Aquatic/Wetland, and Musical Instruments.

  • jengd

    Fantastic giveaway! I’d get the Astronomy, Geometric Solids, Geometric Shapes, Seed to Plant Nomenclature, and Skeleton Nomenclature Cards.

  • Ashley

    I would love to receive the bean seed, flower, leaf, butterfly, and fish cards. I really wish that I had found these cards back when I was teaching science to elementary school age children. I think that they could have benefited from them immensely and they would have been a great learning tool for those kinesthetic students. I am glad I have found them now at least though! I am sure my daughter will enjoy them tremendously! I really appreciate that the terms/words are not kept to just the basics but instead are designed to stretch the students vocabulary (as well as the parent/teachers)! Thank you!

  • alison

    i’d choose the color cards, farm animal cards, fruit cards, school cards, and woodland animal cards

  • I love this! I like the clothing, musical instrument, school, flower 1&2

  • Amy Otto

    I would love the Marine Invertebrate, Natural Resources, Peace Table Cards, Oviparous or Viparous Animals and the Brain Nomenclature cards. Thank you for this fabulous giveaway. I hope I win.

  • Thank you for sponsoring the give-away! I would love the Montessori Materials, musical instrument, school, flag, and butterfly life cycle sequence cards.

  • Julie

    I would love Fish, Birds, Horse, Kangaroo and Turtle nomenclature cards. Great give away!

  • Thanks for hosting!!! These are so helpful….We will love: ground transportation cards, building cards, marine transportation cards, tableware cards, sport cards. Thanks again and thanks to MPS!

  • Denine


    What a great give away. It is awesome to know that there are so many dedicated montessori moms out there doing great things with and for their little ones. If I win I’d love the apple , butterfly, tree, pumpkin and frog sets of cards.

    Thanks for the opportunity to win!

  • Tracey Masters

    Super excited! Alyssa and I love Montessori Print Shop materials. OMG! When I saw this giveaway post … I ran to the other room to get our new Science curriculum. I used their awesome “Quick Search” button to look up certain topics. The hardest part was figuring out which five I would want to win. My list ended up being extremely long … good to know that they have many items I can use as a supplement to our curriculum this year. I would choose the following cards: Nomenclature Moon Phase Cards, Nomenclature Penguin, Nomenclature Elephant, Nomenclature Insects, and Nomenclature Kangaroo. Thank you for posting this giveaway!
    Tracey M. at Tot Play: A Learning Journey

  • Lynn

    Wow, what a great opportunity to try out some new things! My classroom would love to have nomenclature cards for the apple and butterfly, and classification of butterfly, farm animals and montessori materials to get our new school year off to a great start. Thanks for hosting!

  • If I win, I would love the butterfly, insect, bean seed, flower, and internal organs. Thank you!

  • Christine

    This is a wonderful giveaway! Thanks also for sharing your ideas with us. I would love to win the hand tool cards, the Mary Cassatt art cards, the Cezanne art cards, the Gaugin art cards, and the Degas art cards. Thank you for the chance to win these wonderful materials for free!

  • Jac

    Thanks for hosting the giveaway. Wow, so many cards to choose from! I would choose: Volcano, Tooth, Skull, Brain, and Turtle.

  • Lindsey Smyth

    My girls are really enjoying the few 3 part cards we have. I think they would love the farm animals, fruit, vegetable, wild animals and insect cards.
    Thank you so much for offering such a great giveaway.
    lindsey (dot) smyth (at) gmail (dot) com

  • Dinah Carolipio

    This is a great giveaway! I just discovered your site recently and am so glad to have found you. Looks like your little one is just about the same age as mine (bookmark, bookmark 😀 ). You have so many wonderful ideas and the way you share with all of us is great. Thank you. As for my entry, it’s so hard to choose, but I’ve narrowed it down to the Dog classification cards, sign cards, solar system nomenclature cards, sun nomenclature cards, and weather cards. Of course, I could go on and on and on. 😉

  • Kathy Ochiuto

    Thank you for all you do. If I win I would choose the building cards, cookware cards, African Rainforest Animal Cards, Amazon Rainforest Animal Cards and Aquatic and wetland Plant cards.

  • What a great giveaway! The sets we like are the dog, horse, flower, apple life cycle and ladybug.

  • Shelley

    I would love to win, for my 4 year old and 16 month old who loves to look at these. I have my fingers-crossed for the Skeleton nomenclature cards, human body nomenclature cards, Car nomenclature cards, Farm animal cards, and Musical instrument cards.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  • Nancy

    The children do learn so much through 3 part cards. It is so hard to choose from all that you offer. Worms, flags, Eye, Van Gogh, Musical notes

  • Maren Mentor

    Hello, Thank you for hosting – first time that I looked under MPS “Other” nomenclature cards. My oldest has been asking so many questions about the human body lately, that I think the brain (b), the eye (b), the internal organs (a), the skeleton and the skin (b) would be right up her alley. Thanks for pointing me into that direction!

  • Kylie

    human body, horse, musical notes, butterfly, insect. There are so many choices!

  • Leoa

    I would love the human body, insects, any that are art related,rainforest cards,peace table cards. Any of the cards offered would make me happy.

  • Jennifer Bruner

    Thank you so much for doing this! My choices, from the classified cards, are clothing, farm animal, fruit, ground transportation, and musical instruments. Have a wonderful day!

  • Nancy

    I would love:
    Musical instruments, and the 4 seasons – winter, spring, summer & autumn cards. Thank you for the opportunity

  • Gail

    This would be great. I like the butterflies, Aquatic Wetland Plants, Amazon Rainforest Animals, Africa Rainforest Animals, and Dessert Animal Cards.

  • Shannon Bennett

    If I win, I would choose the internal organs, brain, insect, marine invertebrates, and desert animals. Seeing how inexpensive they were, I would probably order more!

  • I love Montessori’s cards and own a few sets! I try to look for the freebies that will go along with a unit we are covering… I would love to win the following: Musical Instruments, Science Equipment, Brain, Internal Organs and Skelton cards! Contact me at – kevinkaylaarrowood123 at yahoo dot com Thanks!

  • I would love to win this for my school and my son 🙂
    My top 5 are: African Rain forest animals, musical instruments, human body, elephant, and Amazon Rain forest animals 🙂

  • nandini

    My picks would be Sun,Eye,Egg,Desert Animals and Amazon Rainforest animals. Thanks for hosting such a great giveaway!

  • Dawn Del Rossi

    Oh my only 5? There are soooo many to choose from, let’s see . . . the five I’d choose are – human body, internal organs, seed to plant, insect, & spider. Thanks for this giveway!

  • Zai

    I love most of them but if i have choose them, my choice will be -The Human Internal Organs,Parts of the Human Body,Parts of Helicopter,Parts of the Airliner, Parts of the Teeth/Jaw that will be good for the children.
    have a lovely…

  • Megan

    What a wonderful opportunity! My classroom would love the African Rainforest animals, air transportation, building, marine invertebrates and a set of the art cards … this would work nicely for next year. THank you for hosting!

  • I like the kitchen/table item cards, the clothing cards, colors, and any of the seasons.

    Jensteed dot 08 at gmail dot com

  • Patty Rakyta

    I just discovered your blog through the Printshop’s link on FB…so glad to find you. So hard to choose, but let’s go with seed to plant, fruit, human body, internal organs and egg. Thanks for doing this!