Simple Montessori Activity: Living and Non-Living Sorting Game

β€œChildren have an anxious concern for living beings, and therefore the satisfaction of this instinct fills them with delight. It is therefore easy to interest them in taking care of plants and especially of animals. Nothing awakens foresight in a small child, who lives as a rule for the passing moment and without care for the morrow, so much as this.”

-Maria Montessori – The Discovery of the Child

This Montessori activity focuses on helping children to understand the concept of living and non-living matter.

How to Play the Montessori Sorting Game


Create sets of pictures from categories of living and non-living matter.

montessori sorting game living and nonliving montessori life science activity

These sets of pictures should not necessarily be the same as those from the stories. Ideally, the sorting card sets should match the topics covered in the booklets. If you add new topics to the booklets, make sure to include them in these card sets as well.

I made a printable with watercolor pictures and real images too. You can find it by clicking through the image below.

Get your copy here!


  1. Invite an individual or small group to participate.
  2. Show the cards one by one and ask the child to name the object in the picture and identify whether it is living or non-living.
  3. Sort the cards into two piles or columns based on the child’s identification, under the correct heading.
  4. Check the colored markings at the back serving as the control of error.
  5. Encourage the children to do this activity with a friend.
montessori sorting game living and nonliving montessori life science activity

After this, you can tell the story about plants and animals and play the sorting game.

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