If you’re looking for some Montessori Practical Life activities for your toddler to do around the house, then I have gathered a few ideas inspired by my training. There is actually no limit to the tasks you can give your little one around the house. I find that a lot of the elementary movements in my Practical Life file start at age 2.5 so I thought I would try some on my 33 month old child. I also added in a few others that I know he enjoys.
Before I continue, I must mention that there is a lot of procedure in these activities that I am leaving out. You invite the child to work with you. You get them to carry the tray with the work to a table. The work is placed on a mat. I’m a bit too casual – I probably demonstrated one movement and then Nicky carried on. This is home style, not school style.
Unpack two bowls from left to right. The left one contains the beans. You demonstrate spooning the beans from left to right and then back again. This unconsciously teaches them about working from left to right, in preparation for reading. When you go from side to side like that it also helps crossing the mid-line of your brain. Holding the spoon helps with pincer grip (in preparation for holding a pencil). This activity can be extended to serving food. Nicky likes to help me dish up. The other day he insisted I get him a “bat” so he could help me.
Nicky absolutely loves pouring liquids, although he might make a big mess in the process. An easier method to start with is pouring beans. Pouring involves the concentration of holding the jug with both hands, muscle control and strengthening of the wrist. In this picture you can see he is holding the lighter plastic jug: the real challenge comes with the heavier glass one.
Pegs have always been a big attraction. When I hang up the washing Nicky loves to post pegs through a hole in the shed. That’s a fine motor activity all on its own! The pegging activity involves using your index finger and thumb to work on that pincer grip, as well as dexterity and patience. However, since this activity is for kids three years and up, Nicky still needs to use both hands. As he gets older he will use one hand.
Nicky is very curious when I use a scissors and thus far what I do is let him use both hands and cut something fine, like a thread. He is also a big help in the kitchen and now has his own little knife for cutting vegetables. I find soft vegetables like mushrooms work better for his level of strength. I’m happy to have a helper around, even if I have to re-do things after he has. Another great job for him is to throw things in the pot after I’ve cut them – it makes him feel involved in the process. (Although I have to be careful he does not burn himself).
Which toddler does not enjoy making a mess? And if mess drives you mad then there are smaller sized messes that can be better contained. Instead of sand all over you can use kinetic sand. Playdough is great for all sorts of fine motor co-ordination if you let the kid use the cookie cutters and rolling pin.
Ever now and then there is an unintentional mess that your kid can enjoy. Like that time I spilt flour all over the floor. Nicky had an absolute ball. There’s some gross motor being covered right there!
Mashing food also takes some co-ordination. NUK have this really cute masher. After I shot the video of Nicky mashing bananas I realised the bowl actually has a handle on the one side which you can hold onto when the banana sticks to the masher and the whole thing is stuck together. I’m not sure if Nicky had more fun mashing or just eating the bananas, but the whole activity was fun for him. I think it is a good strength builder for those muscles too.
This post was not sponsored but I was provided with the NUK masher and bowl for review.