The early years of a Montessori education puts a heavy emphasis on Practical Life activities. The Montessori Walking the Line activity is one such Practical Life activity that children are introduced to very early in their classroom careers.
In this article, you will learn what Walking the Line in Montessori is, its purpose, and how to present this activity in your classroom or home. You will also get some activity extension ideas.
What is the Montessori Walking the Line activity and what is its purpose?
The Montessori Walking the Line activity is an early Practical Life work referred to as a Control of Movement activity. (It can also be considered a Grace and Courtesy lesson, as well.)
Typically, the activity involves the teacher or caregiver placing a large strip of tape on the floor in the shape of an ellipse.
The purpose of this activity is to help children develop balance and control the movement of their bodies.
Not only are balance and coordination helpful to children for safety, but these are skills needed in a Montessori classroom setting.
When a child is adept at controlling their body movements, they are better able to walk carefully around the workspaces of others and less likely to knock into tables, slam doors, spill water, ect.
The maintenance of the prepared environment in a Montessori classroom or home depends on children having careful control of movement, as well.
This activity, sometimes accompanied by a song, also helps a child's cognitive development through the use of concentration.
Children must maintain an arms-length distance from the other children participating, which takes a great deal of effort.
In a Montessori classroom, the Walking the Line activity is often performed between work cycles to help children “get the wiggles out”.
Aim of the Montessori Walking the Line activity
- To walk carefully
- To develop coordination and balance
- Increased concentration
Control of error
- The tape on the floor
Points of interest
- Maintaining balance
- Keeping their distance from one another
- Staying on the line
How to present the Montessori Walking the Line activity
If multiple children are participating in the activity, they must remain in the same order and at arm's length through the entirety of the activity.
For this activity, you will need tape (1-inch wide) and a music player (optional).
- Show the child how to walk slowly, putting their heel down on the tape first. If the child is ready, you can show them how to alternate their feet with one heel touching the toe of the foot that is already on the floor.
- If there are multiple children participating in the activity, show them what staying “arms-length” looks like by having them hold out their arms and making sure they are not touching anyone else.
- Put on some calming music or the Montessori Walking the Line Song and continue the activity.
Montessori Walking the Line activity extensions
Balancing an object on the head
Invite the child to walk the line with a book or other flat object on their head, taking care not to let it fall.
Play some upbeat, rhythmic music on the music player and invite the child to walk to the beat.
You can call out fun commands like, “Walk with your arms out straight in front of you.”, or, “Walk like an elephant.”, or, “Walk with tiny steps.”
Have the child carry a small glass of water, taking care not to spill any. When the child is ready and has worked with trays, you can have them carry a tray with a glass water on it.
Choosing items in the child's line of vision, play I-Spy. Remind the child to continue to carefully walk during the game.
Walking the Line is such a simple Montessori activity with so many benefits. It's easy to set up and children really enjoy it, too.
It's also a great music and movement activity for the morning circle or for rainy days at home.
Have you tried putting some tape down and having your child do some balancing?
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