Looking for ways to get your littles involved in purposeful activities? Montessori Practical Life activities may be what you are looking for.
What Montessori Practical Life is
As you may assume from the title, Montessori Practical Life has to do with the day-to-day things that we do as people. Cutting up fruit, picking out clothes, and even getting a drink of water are all part of Montessori Practical Life.
Montessori Practical Life can be split into four groups: caring for self, caring for the environment, Grace and Curiosity, and Preliminary Activities .
Self care tasks include getting dressed, brushing teeth and hair, making a snack (or helping to make food in the kitchen), packing a bag to spend the night somewhere, and packing a lunch.
Caring for the Environment
Caring for the environment tasks include family chores like sweeping, dusting, cleaning off the table, setting the table, and watering plants just to name a few.
Grace and Curiosity
Grace and Curiosity include items that teach manners and help kids stay curious. Some activities include greeting people, phone etiquette, getting someone’s attention, helping others, blowing their nose, knowing how to cough and sneeze around people, and saying please, thank you, and your welcome.
Preliminary activities are those activities that children are taught first. Activities such as moving a chair, wiping up a spill, opening and closing containers, and pouring to name a few.
Why is it Important?
How do we learn how to do the day-to-day’ life’ tasks? By watching and doing these tasks. Montessori Practical Life encourages kids to take ownership of tasks to take care of themselves and their environment. By doing these tasks, kids can make choices that directly impact them and they are gaining self-confidence in their decision-making skills.
When little ones do Montessori Practical Life there is more happening than meets the eye. Concentration is a big part of Montessori Practical Life. Your little ones will preserver through challenges because they know that what they are doing is important and it directly impacts their lives. Sequencing and thinking through how tasks need to be done are also worked on. Your little one can’t get a drink until she grabs the cup and gets the pitcher of water. She would need to think through what has to happen first to get herself a drink.
Activities to Teach it
Food and Drink Preparation
Tired of hearing your little one is huuunnnngrryyyy or needs a drink? Help foster some independence by having a small pitcher of water that your little learner can grab and fill a cup that is stored at his level. You can take it a step further by having snacks at your little one’s level, too. Lower shelves on the fridge door work great for keeping kid friendly snacks.
Cleaning Up A Spill
Cleaning up what a spill happens is part of having the responsibility to be able to get your own food and water. Model how you want your littles to clean up a spill. Have towels at a level they can reach and have a spot to put the dirty towel.
Sweeping the Floor
Help your kid have some responsibilities around the house. Sweeping is a great start to helping to keep the environment your kid lives in clean. You may want to put painter’s tape in a square on the ground so your little one can sweep all the crumbs and debris into the square.
Watering the Plant
Teach your kids how to care for something living other than themselves. Model and talk through how much water should be used and how often.
Brushing teeth, brushing hair, getting dressed, and washing their hands all fall under self care.
Use a foam block or a vase and some fake flowers and have your little one make a beautiful centerpiece. If desired, you can also do this with real flowers, too.
Sorting is a great way to have your little one work on identifying the items and putting them in the place with the same type of silverware. Plus it is one less chore you will have to do.
Washing Fruits and Vegetables
Teach your little ones how and why you wash fruits and vegetables. This can be as simple as having a bowl that is filled with water and some vinegar to wash the produce.
Peeling and Cutting Fruits and Vegetables
There are many different knives and tools that little ones use to safely and successfully complete these tasks. As always, use your judgment and teach your littles how to safely do this task is important.
Wrapping a Gift
Grab some old boxes and some wrapping paper and tape. Have your little one get to work on wrapping the boxes. This skill may come in handy the next time you need a present wrapped.
During fall this activity may look like hammering golf tees into a pumpkin using a hammer. This can also be done with nails into a board. This activity is great for fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and confidence building.
Montessori Practical Life
Help your little ones to become more self-sufficient in a fun and engaging way. Montessori Practical Life skills are a great addition to any homeschool. From getting a snack to brushing her hair, your little one is learning amazing life skills (and hopefully you can catch a break for a few minutes).