I’ve often been asked which Montessori materials I recommend homeschoolers buy. I’ve been somewhat hesitant to give my opinion since each homeschool is unique. Don’t worry about making variations according to your child’s needs and interests and your family’s budget. And remember that many practical life skills don’t need shelf activities at home. They can be included in your cooking, baking, care of the home environment, and other tasks of daily living.
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For more information on practical life activities in general, you’ll find lots of resources in my practical life activities post.
Practical Life Material Recommendations
Practical life materials are easy to prepare even if you’re not crafty. You will need some basic materials from the beginning. Once you have those, you’ll rarely need to purchase practical life materials. The best recommendation I can make for practical life materials in general is Montessori Services. Montessori Services specializes in practical life materials and carries everything you might need to have a complete practical life area.
You’ll need various sizes of
- trays (An exception: I use these Multicraft wooden trays most often now unless an activity has water or something that will stain or otherwise damage a wooden tray.)
- bottles, jars, and containers
- rugs (which are used to define a child’s work space in every curriculum area)
Many materials for practical life activities might be found at places like thrift shops or garage sales. I even have some trays that I found on sale at the grocery store. They scratch easily, though, and aren’t as durable or useful in size as the Montessori Services trays. I used primarily Montessori Services trays when I had a Montessori school. I kept those trays for our homeschool. The trays still looked good at the end of our homeschooling.
Trays, baskets, boxes, and bowls are important for practical life activities and activities in every curriculum area. The nice thing is that once you have a good selection, you can use them over and over and over. You don’t need to start with a large assortment, though. These suggestions are for materials you can add to as you see which materials would be most useful for your child(ren).
Other important practical life materials are
- child-size tools
- small pitchers (For extra interest, you could add a special set such as the Colored Glass Pouring Set pictured in the image at the top of the post. Update: That specific set is no longer available through Montessori Services, although a special set is something fun to watch for.)
- spoons, scoops, and ladles
- tongs and chopsticks
The items your child spoons, tongs, and pours are easy to find at a hobby store, grocery store, and/or on Amazon.
You’ll also need
You don’t need to have every possible transferring tool … just a good variety. Depending on your budget and comfort with preparing your own practical life activities, you can even order prepared practical life sets from Montessori Services.
This post has some examples of prepared Montessori Services practical life activities:
The Versatility of Practical Life Materials
My Cat in the Hat Practical Life Activities are examples of themed activities using traditional Montessori practical life materials.
My Montessori Inspired Transferring Activities for February post also shows examples of themed practical life activities.
I often combine practical life activities with other curriculum areas, such as in the blood cell sort-transfer using Montessori Services quick sticks.
Many practical life materials can be easily rotated to add extra interest and new skills, such as in my Montessori-Inspired Water Pouring and Water-Bead Pouring.
This Montessori-inspired dinosaur addition activity in my monthly post at PreK + K Sharing has an added practical life component.
My free do-a-dot printables often have a transferring activity included to combine phonics with practical life skills.
Preparing Montessori practical life activities can be fun and a great way to express your own creativity. Don’t be afraid to experiment. For more information on where to buy Montessori materials in every curriculum area, check out my post on where to buy Montessori materials.
Learn more about my eBook Montessori at Home or School: How to. Teach Grace and Courtesy!
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