What is the Sandpaper Globe?

The Sandpaper Globe, also known as the land and water globe, is an introductory geography material from the Sensorial Curriculum.

This material introduces the child to the concept of the globe as a representation of earth, and clearly defines the concepts of land and water.

Outstanding features of the Sandpaper Globe are the blue water and elevated land formations with a sandy texture.

The Sandpaper Globe prepares children for the second Montessori globe, the Coloured Globe, which indicates the different continents of the world in different colours.


The main purpose of the Sandpaper Globe is to introduce children to the concepts of land and water.

From this lesson, the child gets a sense of the shape of the world, and is also able to visualise the distribution of land and water over the earth.

Once understood, these concepts are built upon by introducing the Coloured Globe to the child.


Invite the child to the Culture Curriculum Area and identify the Sandpaper Globe.

Have the child carry the globe with two hands on the wooden based to a table. Sit next to the child in front of the material.

Tell the child, ‘this is what our world would look like from outer space.’

Rotate the globe once or twice in silence, allowing the child to see how the pattern of sandpaper and blue changes across the globe.

Feel one of the rough parts (one of the continents) and then have the child feel it.

Tell them ‘this is land.’

Repeat the process with another rough section, telling them ‘this is also land.’

Feel one of the smooth parts (one of the oceans) and then have the child feel it.

Tell them ‘this is water.’

Repeat the process with another smooth section, telling them ‘this is also water.’

Allow the child to take a turn identifying sections, until they are comfortable with the bird’s eye view of land and water distribution over the planet.


Once the child can easily identify both land and water on the Sandpaper Globe, you can incorporate sensorial jars in your presentation.

Filled with dirt and water respectively, you can have the child feel the contents of each and describe them to you.

After this, have them identify which jar is ‘land’, then ‘water’ and where that is also on the Sandpaper Globe.

Another extension includes printables of both land and water locations from around the world. Present one to the child and ask them to identify if the image is of ‘land’ or ‘water’.

They can then point to ‘land’ and ‘water’ on the Sandpaper Globe.

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