Preschool Landforms and Bodies of Water

Montessori Geography

Land and water forms typically include island and lake, peninsula and gulf, cape and bay, system of lakes and archipelago, and isthmus and strait.


3 and up 


  • Playdough or clay 
  • Water (blue food coloring if you want)

Step by Step:

Look through the bodies of water. You can do this using the FREE printable (Land and water forms) or you could look at pictures and discuss it with your child. As you look at each image, have the child describe what they see. If you are using the printable make sure to tell them the blue represents water and the brown represents the land. When the child has described what they see, you can then tell them the description/definition of that body of water and/or landform. You do not need to introduce all of them at one time. 

We do two at a time. In this order:

  • Lake  and Island
  • Peninsula and Gulf
  • Strait and Isthmus 
  • Cape and Bay

After looking at the images and discussing. You can take out the playdough or clay and have your child create the landforms. When they are done it is time to pour in the water and watch their creation turn into a lake, island, peninsula, gulf, strait, isthmus, cape, or bay…..

Children learn best when they are using their hands and their minds at the same time. This helps them retain what they are learning. This lesson is meant to provide children with a concrete representation of what these bodies of water and landforms look like. This activity will help your child understand geography vocabulary.

Vocabulary + Definition

Island – a piece of land surrounded by water.

Lake – body of water surrounded by land.

Gulf – part of the ocean or sea enclosed by land.

Peninsula – a piece of land that is almost completely surrounded by water BUT connected to the mainland. 

Isthmus – a narrow strip of land that connects two larger landmasses and separates two bodies of water

Strait – a narrow passage of water connecting two seas or two other large areas of water

Cape – high point of land extending into river, ocean, lake. 

Bay- inlet of  the sea or other body of water curves inward.

Easy Playdough Recipe:
Mix the dry ingredients then add the 1 1/2 cup of water and mix. Tip: I ad the coconut oil to the boiling water before adding it so it melts.

  • 1½ cups water (boil before adding)
  • ¾ cup salt
  • 1 tablespoon cream of tarter
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil or olive oil
  • 1½ cups flour
  • Food Coloring

Published by Christelle

Former Montessori School Teacher and Child Life Specialist. Specialize in early childhood education.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: