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Montessori Inspired Practical Life Activities for Preschoolers and Toddlers

Updated: Feb 21, 2021

Fingers crossed today was the last day of -25C windchill. At these temperatures, no matter what my kids are wearing (3 years and 15 months), they get cold (and I get cold). If there is no wind and it is sunny, we still go out, but today we opted for (hopefully) our last inside day for awhile.

We started the day with books, but since I have recently had pretty serious dental work, my reading aloud time today was limited. So, we turned to productivity and decided to focus on "practical life." It always amazes me how both kids love this kind of work. They were quite happy (mostly) for the rest of the afternoon and we now have a (fairly) clean house!

The importance of practical life in the words of Maria Montessori:

“When we speak about the behaviour of men and animals, we refer to their purposeful movements. This behaviour is the centre of their practical life. It is not just the practical life in a house, cleaning rooms, watering plants, etc., that is important, but the fact that everyone in the world must move with a purpose and must work, not only for himself but also for others. It is strange that man's work must also be work in service of others; if this were not so, his work would have no more meaning than gymnastic exercises. All work is done not only for ourselves but also for others. Even something as frivolous as dancing would be pointless without an audience. The dancers, who perfect their movements with so much trouble and fatigue, dance for others. Tailors who spend their lives sewing could not wear all the clothes they make themselves. Yet tailoring, like gymnastics, requires lots of movements.

If you have a vision of the cosmic purpose, that every life in the world is based on this movement with a purpose, you will be able to understand and better direct the children's work. In the beginning, children are urged by nature to be active. They are happy when they are active. They begin to develop the behaviour of humanity with its limits and its possibilities. Movement is closely connected to psychic life; we must move with intelligence, will, character, etc.” Montessori, Maria. The 1946 London Lectures.

Today's work was in the service of each other creating an organized, clean living space as well as a home-cooked supper:

We started with unloading the dishes.

Then we moved onto scrubbing the counters and the floor:

We spent a good amount of time washing the chalk board and sweeping the floor.

Then it was downstairs to start washing our laundry mountain.

Lastly, we were back to the kitchen cooking supper.

Amazing how everyone (including mama!) felt much better after exerting some energy and getting productive.

Can't wait to get back outside tomorrow!

What are some of your favourite indoor and outdoor practical life activities?

Check out some of our other activities here!

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