Easiest way to use 3-part cards

Hey ladies (or anyone who’d find this useful), as promised here’s a look at how I use this Montessori-inspired 3-part cards with my kids. I would like to highlight that this is my version of how I use the cards with my children, which may be different from the methods out there. I prefer a more discussive approach with my kids and they like it when I relate it to their experiences. There is no right or wrong way – use the cards in the best way you can with your child and what matters is their interest is sustained and they enjoy the activity. 😍

Before I get into the details, here are the things I considered before carrying out the activity and I highly encourage you do this too:

1) Follow your child’s interest.

My daughter was asking so much about flowers and plants during our walks. She asked about how flowers came about, why Bird’s Nest Fern grows on branches or near trees, why flowers have different colours etc. I knew I had to do something to expand on this interest and decided to choose flowers as a topic for this activity. As for my son, he is obsessed with land animals and was showing some interest with marine animals. So I took the opportunity to expand his knowledge by choosing marine animals as the topic of choice for this activity.

If your child has an interest in vehicles, use a vehicle-themed card for his activity. If your child has an interest in playground, use a playground-themed card. They will be more interested to do this activity if you follow their interest!

2) Identify your child’s development level.

How you use your cards depend on your child’s ability and level of development. In this post, I will share with you how I do it with my 6+yo daughter and 2+ yo son, based on their level of ability. Do know however that my children’s age is just a guide. I always believe that a child’s age is never a limit when it comes to learning and that each child learns at his/her own pace.

3) Make this available easily for your child on his learning shelf.

Give your child the autonomy to make the decision to access it freely. Only then, your child will be learning it at his own free will and not because you are forcing him to. When he does it often enough, he will know the drill and he will be open to learning new topics.

4) Use real images as far as possible!

Help your child to look for beauty and logic through the photos you provide for them by using real images e.g. real picture representation of animals, vehicles, nature. To stimulate a child’s imagination, give them real photos of objects and a real understanding of the world.


Card components:

These cards are so versatile and can be used is so many ways to build interest, vocabulary and early literacy. The 3-part cards are made of 3 parts:

an object/picture card – has only a photo on it.

a label card – only word(s) which describes the photo

a control card – consists of both the same photo and word(s)


How I use these cards with my 2.5yo son:

Stage 1: My 2 year old is not reading yet, so I start off really simple for him – matching control card to the picture card (no label cards needed). I point the words and read out the name of each animal to him and asked him to match the control card to the correct picture card. As he does this for a couple of days, he will get familiar with the marine animals.

My son can stay focused but not as long as his older sister. So I started off with 6 picture cards so as not to overwhelm him with too many. You can start off with more or less, depending on your child’s ability and his focus level. You can have more rounds if your child asks for more but stick to the same number for each session. Increase the number of cards for each round during the next session when you feel like he is ready to do with more.

Matching 6 control cards to the picture cards. Marine animal cards from Toymany.

Stage 2: Once he has mastered the 1st stage (which took 2 days for him), I increased the number of cards per round as he is more familiar with the animals. He then matched the picture card to the animal figurines (his idea). He had so much fun doing this part as he plays with his figurines often and recognises them.

Stage 3: By this stage, I found that we was quite ready to use the label cards as he was able to recognise and say out the names of most marine animals through the picture or control cards. He matched the label card to the control card by comparing both words. Don’t be surprised if your child is not really reading yet but managed to read out just the label cards (without the photos!). Try it with your child – go through each stage carefully several times and introduce the different elements at the right time by following their lead.

After many practices, he managed to complete matching the control card to the picture card & the figurines to the 12 cards during his first round.
Last stage: Matching the label card to the picture card.

Marine animal cards from Toymany.

Stage 4: When he is older and could read and write like his sister, there are plenty of activities he could do to extend his learning. He could use an animal atlas book to read more about the sea animals or go to River Wonders (in Singapore) to see the real life connection and link what they have learnt at home to the real world.


How I use these cards with my 6.5yo daughter:

My daughter is able to read and understand well. So she started off by looking at all the control cards (I started with 10 pieces first) and placing it neatly on the mat. From there, she was introduced to the photo of each flower and the name. I encouraged her to read out the names of each flower. By looking at the photos on the picture card, she then matched it to the same flower by placing it next to corresponding control card.

We then turned over each control card face-down. Next, she attempted to identify the flowers by matching each label card to the picture card. After completing all 12 label cards, she did her own self-check by turning over the control card to reveal the answer. If she made a mistake, she will learn from there and try again the next round. This increases her resilience and confidence level, and gives her the signal that mistakes are okay!

Step 1: Place each picture card neatly on the mat. If your child already has some knowledge of the topic, ask him to guess the name of the object in the picture card as he places each card on the mat.
Step 2: Do photo matching by matching the control card to the picture card. Encourage your child to read out the name of each flower on the control card.
Step 3: Turn over all control cards face down. Using the label cards, ask your child to guess the name of the flowers by matching and placing the label card below each picture card.
Step 4: Self-check: turn over the control cards to check the answers.

When she’s ready, level up the activity by using an additional part – the information card. Here’s an example of what we did with the solar system-themed card.

Repeating this activity on another day – with information card.
Solar system 3-part cards from http://www.1plus1plus1equals1.net
Helping with the preparation of the information cards.
Solar system 3-part cards from http://www.1plus1plus1equals1.net

The activity with my daughter can be full of discussion – she likes to ask questions about the flowers and link what she has learnt to real life. You can let your child do the activity alone while you observe from far, sit next to them quietly or have a robust discussion with them – just follow their lead!

Here is the link to the website which distributed the 3-part cards I used in this post! The printables are free but will require you to subscribe to their email. I wish you all the best and happy learning with your children!

http://www.1plus1plus1equals1.net

Always cheering you on,

Shiella A.

IG: @tidyingmytinyspace

7 Practical and Doable Self Care Ideas for Very Busy Moms

Read a book, start a hobby, watch a movie – these are great activities to practise self care but it’s easier said than done for busy momma’s like us! With our busy and super packed schedule, I’ve compiled a list of ideas below (I actually practise them and it works!) that are integrated into your busy mum life so that you take care of yourself a little more and find simple joys in your busy everyday motherhood journey.

1) Prepare a tumbler of hot or iced beverage first thing and drink it throughout the morning.

One of the first morning routine for me is to make myself iced milk tea in my favourite tumbler and sip it throughout the morning. This is before the morning madness begins. You will feel more awake and replenished.

2) Shower and get ready for the day by looking good!

Make an effort to tie your hair neatly, wear make up, dress up (don’t stay in your pajamas!) so that you feel ready to start your day and live a life of purpose.

3) Prepare a fruit-infused water in a bottle for mid-day energy.

Hydrate throughout the day by drinking from a tumbler, and adding just fresh lemon slices or take it a few steps further with strawberries, blueberries and chia seeds for that added nutrients!

4) Invoke your senses by switching on your favourite diffuser

Make your home smell good by using a good quality diffuser with your favourite essential oil. For days when you somehow feel more irritable, add lavender essential oil for the calm. If your nose is sniffy, throw in some peppermint essential oil to the mix. Having a nice-smelling space makes a world of difference.

5) Nap with the kids

When your kids sleep, you should get some rest and sleep too! Practice and insist on making your kids sleep together at the same time and make it a routine. This is absolutely necessary as their midday rest gives you time to breathe and catch up. Encouraging your kids to have their nap time also has many benefits when it comes to their physical and mental development. When you finally get your alone time but you’re too excited to sleep, feel free to use that extra time for your precious me-time.

6) Exercise with your kids!

While your children run around or hit the playground, be sure to get into your exercise gears too and sneak in some stretches while watching the kids!

7) Journal and plan at night for 20-30mins

Plan the blueprints for the next day so that you feel more prepared to take on tomorrow. Have a page to “brain dump“ and remove the mental load and anxieties that mummies always have. Practise journaling for self-care, review your aspirations and pour out your feelings into your writing to feel good. If you have a kindergarten or primary school going kids, make this a nightly affair that you can do with your child. It’s never too young for them to start journaling too! It’ll make a great down-time or a night routine for you and your children.

Hope you find these ideas useful! Your everyday to-do list and habit routine must always include some self care activities. Always remember that you cannot pour from an empty cup!

Always cheering you on,

Shiella A.

This post contains affiliate links, and I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you. See my disclosure here.

Toddler activity: Matching shape, size and colour recognition activity using 3D cylindrical blocks.

Matching according to two attributes – colour and size

Matching and classification to develop early geometry learning skill in toddlers.

If you have a preschooler who attends school, you may notice that there are many activities on matching. That’s because matching is an important skill for toddlers to learn how to classify items and identify relationships between them. It is also a foundational math skill which helps them identify properties of objects that are the same. Coupled with using 3D blocks, it becomes a powerful skill set which is essential for early geometry learning.

My 2nd child was a little under 2 years old when he first tried this activity. Identifying colours was fine for him and is generally so for kids in his age group. For the size discrimination, he self-corrected several times before matching correctly. After which, it gets more challenging stacking the cylindrical blocks in order according to the colours shown (swipe left to the end), which is great in helping him in his cognitive development.

A more challenging task – multi stacking

The items were really inexpensive (I bought them from Shopee) but I just wish the pieces were bigger though. I had to supervise him really closely as the smaller parts can be a choking hazard. Other than that, love it!

Let me know if you tried this out with your little ones or have something similar. I would love to know how your activity went with your little one. 🙂

Cheering you on,

Shiella A.

My Story

Hi! I’m Shiella, the author of Tidying My Tiny Space. Currently, I’m an overjoyed SAHM to 3 wonderful children – 2 boys and a girl.

A little bit about my background…

I started teaching as a private and group tutor more than a decade ago, way before I entered university, before I finally decide to pursue my dreams to teach in schools. For the past 7 years, I taught in a secondary school (2 years in a primary school). Therefore, it is not a surprise how this became an occupational hazard in my household – I am obsessed with organising and keeping a schedule and I love educating my kids in fun ways.

I tied the knot with the most compassionate, genuine and empathetic man I’ve ever met in 2014. We had our first child the following year. From then on, our lives took a 180 degree turn. Things that were important to us no longer became a priority and everything that we did, we had to put a cute little human into consideration. Over a span of 5 years, we were blessed with one child after another. This isn’t a surprise as I love children and would want to have a dozen of them, if I could. ❤️

I’ve journeyed through my life as a FTWM, a PTWM and now a SAHM. I’ve experienced each phase with plenty of ups and downs. Hence, I feel like I’ve so much to share (other than children’s worksheets! 😆) and I needed a platform to do just that. And that is exactly how I started this blogas a space to share my journey as a SAHM while using my experience as a teacher to educate my children and run my household – effectively AND happily! By (virtually 😀) taking you into my space (a HDB BTO), I hope to inspire and motivate you to manage your household well and create a happy home by having an organised and tidy space, educating your children well, having an abundance of self-care and being able to personally achieve your dreams while you’re at it!

Currently, I am working on expanding my printables library for everyone, especially mummies, to be able to use to help run their daily lives with ease. This library will consist of all things which I personally use and find useful – learning activities with my children, trackers for my daily routines and planners to keep my life organised. I will also be creating more blog posts containing nuggets of gold information intended to help you with your child’s education, organising your home and more. If you’re as excited as I am and would like to go through this precious parenthood journey with me, subscribe to my email list below! I would love to have you! Meanwhile, feel free to connect with me through my socials below. I like to only share things that are of value there (my idea of how we should treat our children, how to keep things together at home, how to take care of ourselves etc.). See you there! 💗

Always cheering you on,

Shiella A.

P.S. I craft my posts at night after the kids go to bed, while breastfeeding my baby or during pockets of time in the day. Mostly in a rush. Every post in this blog is personally written by me. Therefore, please pardon me if you were to find errors (grammatical, punctuation etc.) or you find me repeating certain things like a broken record. 😆


Whether you are a full-time working mum, a stay-at-home mum, a mum-to-be, a parent or anyone with kids in your household, I would love to connect with you! Follow me on IG @tidyingmytinyspace or email me at tidyingmytinyspace@gmail.com.

I also run a small side hustle. If you are interested in gifting personalised gift sets for your loved ones, check out:

IG: @mygiftmaker

Website: http://www.mygiftmaker.com

FB: My Gift Maker

Email: mygiftmakersg@gmail.com