For the beginning of the school year, I’m going to focus on Montessori activities you can use at home. My Monday activity of the week for the next few weeks will include numerous activities within each of the Montessori curriculum areas. This week, the emphasis is on what could be considered the most important area of a Montessori classroom – practical life, or daily living, exercises.
Settings for Practical Life Activities
Practical life exercises can be used for preschoolers in almost any setting – whether it’s just a few activities at home, a homeschool classroom, church school, or classroom of any educational orientation. The reason practical life activities are so important is that they help your child develop order, concentration, coordination, and independence. By developing those qualities, both the child and the learning environment are calmer and learning is easier.
The photo at the top of the page is from the Montessori-based Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program I had started in our church when my children were little. You’ll notice that the activities are generally inexpensive and easy to set up. I like to keep the practical life materials the same color on one tray whenever possible to make the activity attractive – and to make it easy for children to return the materials to the proper tray. You can set up practical life activities however works best for you, though.
Practical Life Activities and Links
In addition to the preliminary exercises, there are four main areas of practical life: care of self, care of the environment, control of movement, and grace and courtesy. I’m going to provide links to website pages with lists of Montessori practical life activities. Use the activities you think will interest and benefit your child at the moment. Change the practical life activities periodically.
Here are links to some pages with Montessori practical life activities:
Montessori Primary Guide has a wonderful introduction to the practical life activities with activities for each of the main areas along with videos to help you understand how to demonstrate activities using Montessori techniques.
Blue Sun Montessori has three photos of practical life shelves with numerous activities and listings of the activities on each shelf.
My Montessori Journey has a listing of practical life activities for the beginning of the school year.
Mont Home has a page of photos of practical life activities along with each activity’s description, purpose, and needed materials.
Miss G’s Aussie Kindergarten has photos and descriptions of practical life activities.
Counting Coconuts has a lot of Montessori-inspired trays on Flickr. Many of those trays are practical life activities for eye-hand coordination.
I have a category with many posts of practical life activities that are easy to duplicate at home.
UPDATE: Montessori Print Shop has a wonderful “Montessori Practical Life Overview – Scope and Sequence.”
Does your child have a favorite practical life activity?