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Practical Life Activities for the Home

Maria Montessori identified the period from birth to age six as "The Absorbent Mind." Initially, the child forms attachments and bonds with caregivers, progressing to imitating their actions. Around age three, the child becomes less reliant on maternal care and starts emulating older children within their family, tribe, or Montessori classroom. Interestingly, the child often prefers the company of older children over adults. By the age of six, the child has assimilated into the culture and acquired the ability to perform simpler life tasks.

Given this, seize the opportunity while your child is young! Teaching these tasks becomes challenging once the Absorbent Mind phase has passed. Observe and align with your child's interests, letting their development guide you.

The following tasks are imparted through example and grace rather than correction and scolding:

Grace and Courtesy:

  • Please and Thank You

  • Excuse me

  • Waiting patiently

  • Greeting and saying goodbye

  • Interrupting appropriately and not interrupting

  • "You may use this when I'm done" and "May I..."

  • Heartfelt apology: "Do you feel sorry? You could tell them."

  • Offering to help

  • Letting someone go first

  • Permission to hug or touch someone

Care of Self and Environment:

  • Sitting and pulling in your chair

  • Pushing in your chair

  • Carrying various items

  • Gathering and setting up your work

  • Putting away work when finished

  • Washing hands thoroughly, drying hands

  • Using the toilet

  • Dressing and undressing, including jacket flip, button, zip, Velcro, tie, buckle…

  • Hand washing laundry

  • Hanging laundry to dry

  • Folding laundry and putting it away

  • Using a hanger

  • Matching socks

  • Washing a table or countertop

  • Wiping up spills

  • Sweeping with child-sized broom, brush, and dustpan

  • Mopping (some mops can have handle segments removed to adjust size)

  • Washing windows, mirrors

  • Arranging flowers


  • Planting seeds, tending a garden

  • Harvesting and cleaning produce

  • Meal planning and shopping for healthy food

  • Food prep: pouring, scooping, spreading, slicing, stirring, grating, peeling, mashing…you get the idea!

  • Using the stove and oven as you observe the child is careful and obedient

  • Setting the table

  • How to use dishes and utensils

  • Scraping and rinsing plates, washing dishes, loading and unloading the dishwasher

  • Collecting compost and recycling

Try some of these activities at home with your family! Which activities did your children enjoy most? Feel free to share your comments below.

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