What is a Montessori water pouring activity?
“Any child who is self-sufficient, who can tie his shoes, dress or undress himself,
reflects in his joy and sense of achievement the image of human dignity, which is
derived from a sense of independence.” –Maria Montessori
Water pouring is one of the early Montessori Practical Life activities a child is introduced to when they enter the primary age group (2.5-6) in a Montessori classroom. It is one of the simple activities a young child is first drawn to in the Practical Life area of the classroom, as very young children enjoy playing with water.
The water in the pitcher is typically colored with food dye to help children visualize the amounts in the pitcher and glasses and to help make the activity appealing to small children. Liquids other than water, with different viscosities, can be used in activity extensions.
The glasses should be marked with fill lines and care should be taken to make sure there is enough water in the pitcher to fill each glass to its indication line.
This particular activity is a wet pouring activity, however dry pouring is also practiced in a Montessori preschool. Beans, rice, and small pasta varieties are generally used for dry pouring activities.
The benefits of Montessori water pouring activities
Water pouring activities can help build a child’s concentration, control of body movement, and fine motor control. Refinement of these skills is important in a Montessori learning environment, well as in a Montessori home.
Without these skills, children cannot gain the maximum benefit the Montessori learning materials, such as math materials and language arts materials, are designed to provide. Lacking these skills can also impede a child’s self-sufficiency in the real life tasks that are integral to Montessori learning.
Simple Practical Life activities such as water pouring are very important work.
This activity also prepares a child for reading and writing, as the glasses should be lined up and filled from left to right; the order in which children will learn to read and write.
Aims of activity
- learning to pour water from pitcher to glass
- hand-eye coordination
- fine motor skills
- visual discrimination
Points of interest
- Feeling the weight of the pitcher change as the water pours into the glass
- Watching the water pour from the spout
What you will need
- small pitcher (glass pitcher, preferably)
- 3 identical clear glasses
- work mat
To purchase small glasses click here.
To purchase small glass pitchers click here.
How to present the Montessori water pouring activity
- put your aprons on
- have your child carry the work mat to the table while you carry the tray
- place items on the work mat and arrange glasses in a row
- grasp pitcher with your dominant hand and support it with your non-dominant hand, moving slowly and allowing your child to notice the supportive placement of your right thumb
- starting with glass furthest to the left, tip the spout of the pitcher (not touching the glass) and pour until the mark
- move the pitcher to the two remaining glasses and repeat
- pour the water from each glass back into the pitcher
- wipe any spills with the sponge
- wipe down the outside of the glasses and the pitcher with the sponge
- invite your child to try the activity
This activity is also performed having a child pour water between identical jugs, through a funnel, and from a spouted container.
For the small glasses and pitchers, we use a combination of purchased tempered drinking glasses, thrift store finds, and glass yogurt containers.
We decided to take our water pouring activity outside for these photos, as it was beautiful Spring weather.
Featured in the photos is my 2 year old. He enjoyed the activity immensely and and spent quite a bit of time concentrating on carefully pouring, however he was not keen on keeping the drinking glasses in a line, which is fine.
Does your child enjoy water pouring activities?
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