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Montessori Practical Life Activities List: 50 Activities

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 examples 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 to 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.

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

The benefits of Practical Life activities

The 4 main groups of Practical Life

  • 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 of 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.

This list is great for Montessori homeschooling or if you are looking to supplement your preschool classroom's traditional curriculum.

practical life activities by age pinterest graphic.

Practical Life Activities List

Preliminary Practical Life Activities

Preliminary Practical Life activities are the very first Practical Life activities a child is introduced to 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 workspace of others.
Elite Montessori Accessories Rug…
  • The tight weave provides children with a smooth work surface; the…
  • Machine wash cold, hang to dry.
  • Natural (off-white) color

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 real food on ikea montessori play kitchen. Adapting a play kitchen is one way how to get started with Montessori.
Cooking pancakes in a play kitchen.

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.
Unfinished Wood Nesting Trays with…
  • YOU DON'T REALLY WANT THAT HUGE TRAY IN BED, DO YOU? Sturdy…
  • WHAT TYPE OF CRAFTER ARE YOU? Finished wooden serving trays are…
  • RANDOM THINGS IN YOUR WAY? Odds and ends become decorative…

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 of 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.
Washing Hands Activity Set Montessori IC…
  • Pail Dimensions: 6.18″*5.51″ (15.7cm*14cm)
  • Bowl Dimension: 7.56″*2.95″ (19.2cm*H7.5cm)

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.
New Sky Enterprises Montessori Basic…
  • Usage: to teach your baby how to put on clothes
  • Size: 10″ *10″*0.6″ for one piece
  • Material: wood and clothing

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 of 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.
MIKNEKE Montessori Lock and Key Toy Set…
  • Hands-on Learning: Children’s Potential for Learning Can be…
  • Fine Motors Skills: Helping Children Develop Coordination, Visual…
  • Practical Life Skills: Helping Kids Learn Use Keys to Lock and…
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

Mini Dustpan and Brush Set Wood Small…
  • COMPACE AND ELEGANT DESIGN.The brush and the back panel of the…
  • BUILT OF STURDY MATERIALS AND WELL CONSTRUCTED . A metallic…
  • CONVENIENT TO USE.Good quality broom for small spaces,all over…
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 a low clothesline

Polishing a Mirror

  • 3 years old
  • Polishing a mirror is a fine motor, concentration-building activity.
Yx-outdoor 3 pcs Montessori Daily…
  • Montessori daily life teaching aids: polishing mirror work,…
  • Product parameters: Material: plastic, fabric, etc., the size of…
  • How to play: guide the children to put the teaching aids in the…

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 skill 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 teaches 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 is a great fine motor skills activity.
OXO Good Grips 2-in-1 Citrus Juicer,…
  • Snap on the small reamer for lemons and limes, or the large…
  • Measurement markings up to 350 mL
  • Drip-free pour spout
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.
Handy Housewares Mini Grater with…
  • Great to have in your kitchen when preparing and to cook food.
  • The Grater comes with a container to keep garlic and cheese one…
  • It is ideal for garlic, cheese, and zesting citrus.

Washing Fruits and Vegetables

  • 3 years old
  • Washing fruit and vegetables is a great early food preparation activity that helps 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 the 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 gives a child the skill of using a rolling pin, plus fine motor and coordination skills.
Sale
HelferX 9 inch Small Wooden Rolling Pin…
  • Higher Quality: HelferX Small Wooden Rolling Pin is made from…
  • Small But Perfect: Smaller size but perfect for Rolling task,…
  • Conventional Design: Small Wooden Unique Size in Wooden: Smaller…

Using Manual Egg Beater

  • 3.5 years old
  • This activity teaches children how to use a rotary egg beater. This is a great fine motor/hand-eye coordination activity.
Sale
OXO Good Grips Egg Beater, White/Black
  • Perfect for eggs, light batters, whipped cream and more
  • Smoothly rotating gears are enclosed for protection and easy…
  • Beaters are elevated and continue to work while resting on bottom…

Prepare Nesting Materials Box

Sifting Flour

  • 3.5 years old
  • An estimating and measuring activity that teaches a child how to use a sifter.
Fox Run Flour Sifter, Stainless Steel,…
  • DURABLE DESIGN: This flour sifter is made from sturdy stainless…
  • PEFECT YOUR POWDERS: This flour sifter comes with a fine mesh…
  • CLUMP FREE RESULTS: Breaks up any lumps in flour and aerates at…

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.
Sale
MEROCO Montessori Screwdriver Board Set…
  • CLASSIC EDUCATIONAL BOARD – The Montessori Screw Driver Board is…
  • MAKING LEARNING FUN – The Montessori Screw Driver Board is a…
  • BEST MONTESSORI TOYS – The best Montessori toys are those that…

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.
TOOKYLAND Fine Motor Toys, Toy Hammer…
  • TRADITIONAL TOY. The tap tap art game is very popular classic toy…
  • LEARNING TOY. The miniature hammer and nails will help your kids…
  • SKILLS DEVELOPEMENT: fine motor toys game promotes children's…

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.
LEADER JOY Montessori Weaving Board, Can…
  • Three ropes of different colors are fixed on the wooden board for…
  • Exercise the baby's hand-eye coordination ability, weave simple…
  • The woven board has no burrs, smooth edges, safe and non-toxic!
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.
Hekisn Large Eye Sewing Needles, Sewing…
  • Long-term use and Rustproof: The embroidery needles are made of…
  • 3 Different Sizes Meet You Need: 5pcs 1.05 x 46 mm/1.8 inch, 5pcs…
  • Easy to Use: Due to the extra large eye,the stitching needles are…

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 to 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 Practical Life Activities List. The limit truly is a caregiver's imagination.

What Practical Life activities does your child enjoy?

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Sharing is caring!

Iris Irizarry

Thursday 4th of May 2023

Loved all the activities .Absolutely convinced that the children will be totally involved.

Ruth Serwaa

Wednesday 21st of December 2022

This is a wonderful site, and it has helped me a lot.

Hina Desai

Friday 17th of September 2021

SUPERB HANDS ON ACTIVITIES.