Montessori 3 part cards are one of the most famous Montessori materials.  You’ve likely heard them referenced when talking about Montessori language materials. And for good reason!

3 part cards are such a versatile material that even though they are intended for ages 3-6 and then again from 6-9 you can also use them at home with your 0-3-year-old!

Not to mention you can find some amazing 3 part cards online like the absolutely stunning watercolor 3 part cards inside of The Montessori Learning Center.

If you are just getting started with Montessori and you want to know how to use these wonderful cards for your toddler this is the perfect place to start!



First, let’s talk about what Montessori 3 part cards are.

3-part cards consist of a picture card, a label or word card, and a control card with the picture and the label together.

The intended use for primary children aged 3-6 is to spread the picture cards out at the top of a big rug or mat. Then match each word card to its picture card. Lastly, the child would use the control card to check all of the matches are correct.

Lucky for you there are plenty of ways to use Montessori 3 part cards with your toddler too!



Using 3 part cards for toddlers is much different. Your toddler most likely isn’t reading yet so you can completely take the word card out until they are closer to the age of 3.

Using just the picture card and control card you can use these Montessori cards in many ways.


Card to card matching.

Use just the picture and control card of the 3 part cards to let your child match. Start with just 2 different matches at a time and work your way up to more.


Object to card matching.

Allow your child to match real objects or language objects to the picture cards. Start with 2 matches and work your way up.


Start introducing the 3 part lesson.

Use the steps below to work through the 3 part lesson:

1. Naming (Introduction) “This is a banana.”
2. Recognizing (Identification) “Show me the banana.”
3. Remembering (Cognition) “What is this?”

Step 1 can be started when your child is an infant. You can hold the card up and simply say what is on the card, “Banana”.

Step 2 can be introduced around one year of age. Set out a bowl of fruit and ask your child to “Show me the banana.”

Step 3 should be introduced around the age of 2 to 2.5 years once they have that huge language explosion around that time frame. This is where you would pick up the banana and ask them “What is this?”


Remember when getting started with these activities your child is not likely to be able to do them all at once. You will need to introduce the activity and observe them and see if it is too difficult. Start with a small number of choices or matches so you don’t overwhelm them. Once they get the hang of it you can add in more choices.


If you are ready to learn more about Montessori with your toddler join us inside the Montessori Learning Center by clicking here.

How do you use Montessori 3 part cards with your toddler? Share with us in the comments below!

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