Practical life work within a Montessori involves a spectrum of activities including basic exercises like pouring and spooning dry goods, care of the environment exercises like dusting and mopping, care of self exercises like hand washing and food preparation and grace & courtesy like how to carry a chair and move your body with control and mindfulness. The works are much more than simply preparing the child to help around the house. The works are about completing work cycles and fine tuning those little fingers and hands for writing, to name a few aims. If you would like to read more on this topic, click through to this post on the philosophy of Montessori Practical Life.
I recently added two new Practical Life works to the boys space: a clothespin matching work and a soap peeling work.
I was in a stamp store recently and saw this adorable silver and red mini clothespins. I thought they would be great to use in a Practical Life work with my boys because they are so small. I made the work a sorting work so the boys attach the clothespin to the matching colored paper.
I thought these mini clothespins would be easier for my boys to pinch because of their small hands. I was wrong, though. The exercise proved to be quite challenging for them.
Another work I placed out for my older son was a soap shaving work: “Cutting board. Soap. Peeler.”
We’ve grated soap as a work in the past but I thought using the peeler might be fun and intrigue my 3.5 year old.
Soap is cheaper than using cheese, for example, and it has a nice softness that makes the introduction to work in this skill area a bit more seamless. Soap also has a lovely smell and feel to it before and after peeling or shaving.
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