Creating Outdoor Montessori Activities for Practical Life is possible and actually easy! A child finds joy in activities we adults view as work or as every day routine. Once a child witnesses these activities in “real” life, he wants to model the activities, again and again. Practical Life activities are typically introduced when the child first enters the classroom. The tasks are simple, precise, and involve activities that the child has already seen in his home, and subsequently wants to mimic.
Practical Life activities prepare a child to be a productive person in our world. The work is holistic in developing the child’s “whole self” by honing fine motor skills, grace of movement, self-regulation, concentration, to behave with respect and with good manners, independence, and self-esteem. Practical life is about preparing a child for life and about developing far less tangible skills, such as self-esteem, completing a cycle of work, self-sufficiency, problem solving, confidence and independence, all qualities that will help in life but also later in academic work.
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Outdoor Practical Life Activities
Walk the Line
This activity is a classic Montessori activity great for developing Grace & Courtesy through working with balance and space. For the traditional AMS Montessori lesson, check out the post I wrote on the Walking the Line. Take this activity outdoors by first identifying lines on which to walk such as a fallen log, an edging of a garden or lawn, a line drawn in a path with a stick, or create a line from leaves and other natural objects. Fun variations include walking barefoot, walking while holding a bell, or walking with balancing in object on your head.
Care of Plants
This activity lends well to the Montessori outdoors classroom. Within the classroom, Care of Plants is part of Caring for the Environment. Children will mist water onto plants and water the soil as needed. Children will also prune dead leaves to keep the plant healthy. Outside a child can take a step back and plant a seed and truly care for his plant throughout its lifecycle. In a garden already in place, a child can till the dirt, weed, and harvest plants. In addition, learning a respectful way to co-exist with plants is critical (e.g. walk around, not on and holding a stem with one hand and picking with the other hand if you're making tea or picking berries)
For more Montessori Practical Life activities for the Outdoor Classroom, check out my eBook: Taking Montessori Outside. This book is the first in a series covering the areas of a Montessori classroom. There are lots of FREEBIES included at the end of the book.
For the first digital book of the series, you can purchase Taking Montessori Outside: An Activities Guide for Parents & Teachers either through my site here or from my Teachers Pay Teachers store where you'll need to create an account!
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