50 Montessori Practical Life Activities by Age

Montessori Practical Life activities are an important part of the primary curriculum. In this article, find out what Practical Life Activities are, when you should introduce them, and get example of Practical Life activities you can introduce to your child.

What is a Practical Life activity?

Maria Montessori, when she founded her first school, observed that the children were more interested in performing tasks normally reserved for adults than playing with toys. She noted that performing these tasks seemed to satisfy children immensely.

Practical Life activities are the first activities young children are introduced when they enter the Montessori primary environment. These are activities of real life that help children feel comfortable and interact appropriately and productively with their environment.

Maria Montessori qupte intrinsic motiation.

Taking advantage of the sensitive period for coordination and movement, Practical life activities are enjoyable and beneficial for preschool age children.

Practical Life activities promote:

Types of Practical Life activities:

  • Preliminary Activities
  • Self Care
  • Care of Environment
  • Grace and Courtesy

There are many Practical Life activities that are universal; presented in every Montessori classroom. However, Montessori teachers and parents take liberties with their Practical Life areas.

This is because the real life lessons children need can vary from classroom to classroom and home to home. This flexibility is vital for following a child in their needs.

If you are implementing Montessori in your home, this could mean teaching your child how to fix a plate of nachos or setting up a Baby Bell cheese unwrapping activity.

Below is a list of Practical Life activities. This is by no means exhaustive, but by the end of the list you should have an understanding of the purpose and benefits to these activities, as well as when to introduce them.

You might also come up with some creative variations or some Practical Life ideas of your own.

practical life activities by age pinterest graphic.

Introduction of Practical Life activities by age

Preliminary Practical Life Activities

Preliminary Practical Life activities are the very first Practical Life activities a child is introduced when they enter a Montessori classroom.

Work Mats

  • 2.5-3 years old
  • Work mats are used to delineate a child’s work area. Work mat activities teach children how to unroll and roll work mats, as well as how to walk carefully around the work space of others.

Walking a Line

  • 2.5-3 years old
  • Also a lesson in Grace and Courtesy, walking a line helps children control their movement and increases a child’s awareness of their body position in relation to others.

Moving a Chair

  • 2.5-3 years old
  • Children are taught to move furniture carefully and quietly.
child cooking in ikea montessori play kitchen.
3 year old making pancakes

Wiping a Spill

  • 2.5-3 years old
  • Learning how to wipe a spill is essential to meal and snack times, as well as many Montessori activities.

Carrying a Tray

  • 2.5-3 years old
  • Carrying a tray is involved in many Montessori activities in the classroom.

Opening and Closing Containers

  • 2.5-3 years old
  • Through this activity, children gain a skill and get fine motor practice.

Whole-Hand Grasp Transferring

  • 2.5-3 years old
  • This is transferring activity that builds fine motor skills. This activity allows children who have not yet mastered the pincer grasp (for spoon, tongs, tweezers, ect.) to have success at transferring small items from bowl to bowl
child grinding herbs for practical life activities.
4 year old herb grinding

Spooning Activities

Pouring Activities

  • 3 years old
  • Many Montessori activities require a child to have practice in pouring. Early pouring practice is a fun and essential activity.

Self Care

Children enjoy the sense confidence and independence of being able to perform self care tasks. In Montessori, self care activities are broken down into manageable steps, increasing a child’s chances of success.

Hand Washing

  • 2.5-3 years old
  • Children learn a self care skill and gain a sense of independence through this activity.

Cleaning Under Fingernails

  • 2.5-3 years old
  • Children learn a self care skill and gain a sense of independence and fine motor skills through this activity.
Beans, bowls, and spoon in a basket for Montessori spooning activities.
Spooning activity setup

Dressing Frames

  • 3 years old
  • Montessori dressing frames include practice with buttoning, tying, buckling, snapping, and using a zipper. These frames provide fine motor practice.

Folding Clothes

  • 3 years old
  • Children learn a life skill, control of movement, and a sense of symmetry.

Putting on a Coat

  • 2.5-3 years old
  • Children enjoy the feeling on independence being able to put on their own coat gives them.

Matching Keys to Locks

  • 3 years old
  • This is a fine motor activity that increases concentration.
close up of Montessori Button frame.

Care of Environment

Care of environment activities teach children to care for and respect their home environment, classroom, and the outdoors.

Cleaning a Spill

  • 3 years old
  • Learning how to clean a spill properly is integral to a safe and clean learning environment.

Brush and Dustpan

  • 3 years old
  • Learning how to use a brush and dustpan in necessary in a Montessori learning environment, as children are allowed to experience the natural consequences of spills and breaks.
oranges and glasses for making hand squeezed juice.
Juicing activity setup

Washing a Table

  • 3 years old
  • This is a skill that will be used often in the Montessori classroom.

Washing Dishes

  • 3 years old
  • This is an enjoyable activity that gives children a sense of pride and ownership over their environment.

Using Clothespins

child hanging clothes on child size clothes line.
3 year old hanging clothes on low clothesline

Polishing a Mirror

  • 3 years old
  • Polishing a mirror is a fine motor, concentration building activity.

Plant Care

Flower Arranging

  • 3-4 years old
  • Arranging flowers is a relaxing activity that encourages enjoyment of nature, visual discrimination, and fine motor development.

Animal Care

  • 4 years old
  • Animal care activities help children develop empathy and have elements of gross motor and fine motor refinement.

Sorting Silverware

  • 3 years old
  • This is a life skills that also teaches a child about categories.
child using apple chopper.
4 year old positioning apple chopper

Setting a Table

  • 3 years old
  • Learning how to set a table is a Practical Life activity that teaching a child the skill of setting a table and encourages fine motor development, as well as visual discrimination.

Making Juice

  • 4 years old
  • This activity teaches children how to make juice using a hand juicer and it a great fine motor skills activity.
child washing vegetables for practical life activity..
2.5 year old washing eggplant

Grating Soap

  • 4 years old
  • This is fine motor skills and visual discrimination building activity.

Washing Fruits and Vegetables

  • 3 years old
  • Washing fruit and vegetables is a great early food preparation activity that help develop fine motor and concentration.

Peeling and Chopping Fruits and Vegetables

  • 4 years old
  • Fine motor skills, coordination of movement, and the ability to prepare food are all aims of this activity. Special care should be taken by caregiver to closely monitor and give instruction on knife safety.
child chopping eggplant, a montessori practical life activity.
Chopping eggplant

Using Rolling Pin

  • 3-4 years old
  • This activity give a child the skill of using a rolling pin, plus fine motor and coordination skills.

Using Manual Egg Beater

  • 3.5 years old
  • This activity teaches children how to use a rotary egg beater. This a great fine motor/hand-eye coordination activity.

Prepare Nesting Materials Box

Sifting Flour

  • 3.5 years old
  • An estimating and measuring activity that teaches a child how to use a sifter.

Recycling Sorting

  • 3 years old
  • A sorting activity with a cosmic education/environmental focus.
child setting a table.
4 year old setting a table

Composting

  • 3 years old
  • Teaching children about composting can have fine motor, sorting, science, and cosmic lesson components.

Nuts and Bolt Fastening

  • 3 years old
  • Fasting nuts and bolts is a fine motor and concentration building activity.

Spreading Toppings

  • 3 years old
  • This activity gives children practice with the skills they need to fix their own snacks.
duplo block and marbles for transferring practical life activity.
A bowl of marbles, a Duplo block base, and plastic tongs. Transferring with tongs activity.

Hammering Nails

  • 4 years old
  • Learning how to hammer nails teaches safety with sharp and heavy objects and has gross and fine motor components.

Wrapping a Gift

  • 4-5 years old
  • This activity is great for helping children develop skills of estimation, fine motor skills, and cosmic lessons on gift giving.

Weaving

  • 4 years old
  • Teaching children to weave helps develop fine motor skills, as well as listening skills. It can also satisfy schematic play needs.
DIY weaving activity, good for connection play schema.
Weaving activity

Sewing a Button

  • 4 years old
  • A fine motor activity that gives children the ability to fix torn cloth items.

Grace and Courtesy

Grace and courtesy activities help acclimate young children to social customs and manners. Grace and courtesy lessons may be different across cultures.

Greeting People

  • 2.5-3 years old
  • Learning how to greet people gives children a sense of independence and an increased awareness of others.
Toddler Dishwashing in sensory play table.
2 year old washing dishes

Getting Someone’s Attention

  • 2.5-3 years old
  • Learning how to get someone’s attention without interrupting is important in Montessori classrooms.

Phone Etiquette

  • 4 years old
  • Children learn how to answer phone, end a conversation, and take a message.

Blowing Nose

  • 2.5-3 years old
  • This is a self care and grace and courtesy lesson.

Coughing and Sneezing

  • 2.5-3 years old
  • Children learn how to turn their heads/use their elbows when coughing and sneezing.
Child putting leaves into DIY Nesting Material Box.
4 year old adding more items from the yard to the Nesting Material Box.

Offering Help to Others

  • 4 years old
  • Offering to help others is a lesson in empathy and increases a child’s awareness of others.

Waiting to be Served at the Table

  • 3 years old
  • This activity helps teach children learn gratitude and patience.

Serving Food to Others

  • 3 years old
  • Serving others food is an empathy building exercise and has elements of fine and gross motor and control of movement, as well.

Please, Thank You, and You’re Welcome

  • 2.5-3 years old
  • Children learn how to use their manners by saying “Please”, “Thank you”, and “You’re welcome” at the appropriate times.

As stated, this is by no means a comprehensive list of Practical Life activities. The limit truly is a caregiver’s imagination.

What Practical Life activities does your child enjoy?

Cheers and don’t forget to subscribe!

Sharing is caring!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top