Montessori Continent Box Swap – Europe

I am continuing to share the incredible resources that we’ve accumulated for the Montessori Continent Box Swap. Just as a reminder: 7 moms, 7 continents, each is putting together some amazing things for each of the continents and sharing it with the rest. Get more information about it here: Montessori Continent Box Swap. Finally, this is a list of what I put together for everyone!


Hey, Mom, what’s in a bag?
Hey, Mom, what’s in a bag?
Hey, Mom, what’s in a bag?
What’s in a bag for me?!

Europe! Europe is in this bag. Europe – is a fascinating continent and I can’t wait to tell you all about it. So, here are a few things that you can be include in the continent box to introduce Europe to your kid.

  1. First and foremost: My very own European Bingo Game! We use this as a game, we refer to the fact-cards every time we discuss that some artist/scientist/famous historical figure was from certain European country; we use it as both fun and educational tool. See European Bingo Game article for more information and a FREE DOWNLOAD.
  2. Nesting Dolls – one of the most beloved traditional Russian toys!


Nesting dolls is a great Montessori small motor, coordination, sensitivity, and even cultural activity. I really wanted to include them in this swap, since it is a truly Russian object!
Finding these nesting dolls turned out to be a challenge: first of all, most of the dolls were made in China. Regardless of your position to Chinese products – I don’t think they represent Russian nesting dolls well – they don’t look authentic, look really fake. I was really trying to find either Russian traditional Smolenskiy Nesting Dolls design, or Khohloma painting technique. So I searched for real, Russian sets. I’ve ordered mine a few times from various places and all of them either lost my order, canceled it and “forgot” to tell me about it, or just neglected it. In the end I ordered my Khohloma nesting dolls from I highly DON’T recommend this site: they responded very nicely while I was still thinking of placing the order, promised to send everything promptly with all the shipping details that I needed… and totally forgot about it, failed to respond afterwards. Three weeks after the date they promised they’d deliver things, after numerous unanswered emails, after I said I’ll cancel the order, they finally sent it (forget about apology – they never even sent a shipping/tracking confirmation or any response to all of my emails!!!). And, of course, they ignored all my shipping instructions. Since Honey was the one getting the dolls, I can just hope they were as well made, as they promised…

  1. Castanets – clunk, clunk, this is a fun musical instrument from Spain.Castanet. In the swap I actually included as simpler, kid-version, since adult one is hard to use even for me. Castanet Kid
  2. MaskCreate your own mask! In Venice, Italy, a masquerade takes place every year for hundreds of years! I included pieces to create your own fabulous disguise (that’s right – a mask!): mask, feathers, “gemstone”-stickers. We found out that all pieces stick better if hot glue gun is used. Read more about it in a book about Italy: ItalyItaly Book.
  3. Fan – in the 18-19th century France, all the pretty ladies and princess in big fancy dresses always carried a fan with them. Those dresses surely look pretty, but they are hot too, so fans were coming handy quite often! Give it a try – do you feel the nice breeze?
  4. Amber BraceletBeading is fun. How about beading with true gemstones? The black and yellow stones are real Baltic amber. Does it look like a rock? It is not a rock. It is actually tree resin, that hardened millions of years ago. 80percent of world’s amber comes from Baltic, a region in Western Europe. In this bag you can find a few real amber beads and a little pendant with an ant inside, (real insect inclusions are too expensive, so this is how it could look).
    Amber I actually ordered the real amber bracelet from Estonia via ebay (illustrated above), and divided it for everybody, about 10 tiny pieces for each mom. Beads were rather small (I wish they were bigger, and there were more of them), but they were real! We had a spending limit of $10 per box, so I couldn’t include a full necklace for everyone, as I really would’ve loved…

    Amber FossilsI also found on ebay a few inclusions – real insects, petrified in amber for millions of years, but they were too expensive to include in the swap, so I just included some beads that look similar for kids to enjoy. Amber AntOrdering from Estonia (unlike Russia, Urkaine, Belarus, etc) – is terrific: Estonia, Latvia and Lithvuania always were famous in former Soviet Union for exceptional punctuality and courtesy. Still true!

  5. Origami Paper Ship Instructions Look at the paper ship. Many years ago, Northern Europe was home to the powerful tribes, called Vikings. Vikings were building ships and traveling all over the world, and even settled in America long before it was discovered by Columbus! Using these paper ship building directions, you can build your own flotilla! See more origami directions for other models, details, illustrations here: European Travelers Game-Cards
  6. Your ships will need some travelers. Europeans always, in all ages, loved to travel. Some European travelers are included in this European Travelers Game!Travelers Game. You can match Travelers to their ships, you can match them to the maps of their journeys. Your kid can match them on her own and check the results against the control card. Or your child can even take a paper origami ship and just traverse the roads that traveler explored on an included map. We even play games – who identifies the most routs and gets home first – wins! Share if you find more ways to play and see more details, illustrations, download free Spanish Explorers Cards here: European Travelers Game-Cards.
  7. Home Made HedgehogsCreate your own hedgehog. There are many-many animals in Europe. I was surprised that hedgehogs don’t live on every continent! Using these directions, create one for yourself and you can put him on a map of Europe, as his place of origin!
  8. European coins: I had some from Russia, some from Ukraine. We like to trace/rub it with a pencil on paper and see how the design shows up on the other side! See this post for details: Continent Boxes: coins activityCoins Rub

To be continued with games, more activities and lots of free projects to download, read, play, cut, and do!

WAIT!!! Lean, the amazing Montessori Tidbits Mom, who put together a very imaginative collection for the North American Continent Box (and managed to participate in another Continent Box Swap that Honey was hosting simultaneously), initiated a blog hop – you can read more about other continent boxes right in the other blogs.