One full month of practical life activities for young kids {parenting challenge}

Raluca Loteanu August 9, 2017
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practical life activities

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At the beginning of the year, I’ve started a parenting challenge to help me build a better relationship with my child and this has been a wonderful experience for both of us! I really enjoy it and I feel that following these monthly challenges allows me to focus more on my child and to do a lot of awesome activities with him. We already had 7 amazing months of our challenge, when we focused on: connection timearts and crafts activities,  books and storiesmusic and dancenature activities, outdoor play, and geography activities. This month will be dedicated to practical life activities and this is one of my favorite topics!

Click here to join our challenge and receive regular updates on our plans and ideas!

My plan for this month will include easy activities to help my son practice his practical life skills and learn new ones. Bogdan is happy to help me with chores so he enjoys practical life activities too! I try to include them into our daily life all the time but this month will be a chance to focus more on them.

My report for July: How the “Geography activities” month went for us

Before sharing our plan for this month, I want to share with you an update about last month. In July, we focused on learning about the world.

Bogdan has shown interest in learning about continents and countries so I was really enthusiastic about this month! But things didn’t go as I expected. He enjoyed some of the activities from our plan but others just didn’t interest him at all. I guess that they were too complex for his age. I plan to try these activities again when he will be a little older to see how it works.

If you want to discover our ideas from last month, you can find them all here. After our experience, I would say that they are more appropriate for kids over 4 years. But there are some great activities on the list that you can try with younger kids too!geography activities for toddlers and preschoolers

My plan for August: The “Practical life activities” month of our parenting challenge

Coming back to this month’s plan, I am much more optimistic about it! Bogdan is already familiar with these type of activities so I hope he will enjoy them a lot!

The activities for this month will be grouped into daily and weekly activities. They will also be grouped into 2 main categories: practical activities and fine motor activities. The practical activities are basically things that we do around the house on a regular basis. The fine motor exercises are meant to help my son learn and practice skills that he uses frequently in practical life activities.


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Daily activities (fine motor activities)

I plan to include fine motor skills activities in our daily schedule. They are great for young kids! And they are a perfect way to help kids learn some skills they will need in their day to day activities.

Here is our list of ideas:

– building a pouring station using a big bin with water and many different containers

Here is an idea from Busy ToddlerPouring Station Activity for Toddlers.

– practicing pouring using a funnel (with water or rice)

– arranging flowers in small vases (or bottles)

Here is some inspiration from Sugar, Spice and GlitterMONTESSORI PRACTICAL LIFE LESSON: FLOWER ARRANGING.

If you have a yard or just some plants on the terrace, you can invite your child to some gardening activities. They combine a lot of fine motor activities! And they are a great way to teach responsibility too.practical life activities

– spooning using two bowls (transferring rice, pasta or beans from one bowl to another using a spoon)

– spooning floating objects (using a big water bin and different small floating objects)

– sifting salt and rice (using two big bowls)

– lacing (we have this set from Melissa and Doug that is great for this activity)

– opening and closing different containers or locks

I like this idea from Sugar, Spice and Glitter: MONTESSORI PRACTICAL LIFE: ANALYSIS OF MOVEMENT.

Here are two toys that are great for teaching young kids to open and close different locks: Melissa & Doug Locks and Latches Board Wooden Educational Toy and Melissa & Doug Latches Wooden Activity Board.

– mixing colors using a dropper

Here are some great ideas from This Practical Life: Four Montessori color mixing lessons.

– clamping clothespins (either on a rope or on a bowl lip).

Weekly practical life activities

These activities are practical life activities that we can easily include in our schedule. Bogdan already tried all of them before but we never really focused on them. So this month I plan to do this!

{ If you want to encourage your kids to be independent and get involved in chores, here are the tools that helped us a lot: 30 useful tools that will make kids more independent and happy to help with chores. }

I have 9 activities on my list so I plan to focus on two of them every week. Here is my list of ideas:

1. Cooking

He already helps me when I cook but this month I want to encourage him to prepare simple meals by himself. He already knows how to prepare on omelet but there are other easy recipes he could try.

Here are some great tips from How We MontessoriTips: Teaching Children How to Read and Use a Recipe. I also like this easy recipe from Living Montessori NowANTS ON A LOG FUN FOOD PREPARATION FOR PRESCHOOLERS.

2. Sweeping

I’ve discovered a very good tip about how to teach young kids to sweep. The idea is very simple: just make a square on the floor using tape and invite the child to sweep all the crumbs on the floor into the square. Then, the child can pick them up using a dustpan. The square helps kids focus on a place to sweep to and makes the activity easier.

3. Laundry sorting

It’s great to have some help with this. And my son loves to help. So we both enjoy this!

4. Buttoning

I still haven’t found a method to convince Bogdan to button his clothes by himself. Recently I’ve discovered the Montessori dressing frames and they seem a good way to start. You can find out more about them in this article from Sugar, Spice and Glitter: MONTESSORI PRACTICAL LIFE LESSON: BUTTONING. I also totally like this ingenious idea from The OT ToolboxTeach Kids How to Button the Fun Way.

5. Table setting

Here is a great article about how to invite kids in a playful way to set the table, from Living Montessori Now: MONTESSORI MONDAY – TABLE SETTING. Also, I have discovered a useful video tutorial about how to create a DIY table setting placemats. You can find it here.

6. Packing a suitcase – We are going on a vacation this month so we will have a perfect opportunity to do this.

7. Dusting

8. Folding clothes

9. Sorting and folding socks

An additional idea

I plan to set a snack table in our living room. This will provide my son more independence and it will be a nice way to allow him to practice practical life skills. He will be responsible for taking care of the table. Also, he will have all the tools at hand to prepare a snack without my intervention. I am really curious if he will like the idea!

This is our plan for this month, I hope that Bogdan will enjoy it! If you like the idea of a month dedicated to practical life activities for your kids, I would be glad if you would join us!

I wish you a happy month with a lot of wonderful activities with your children!

Click here to join our challenge and receive regular updates on our plans and ideas!

More from Playful Notes

30 useful tools that will make kids more independent and happy to help with chores

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Chore ideas for young kids and how to put them into practice [+ printable chore list]

13 nice and easy nature activities for young kidsPractical life activities are an awesome way to teach kids new skills that will be very helpful in the future! And these activities can be really fun too! | Practical life activities for toddlers | Practical life activities for preschoolers | Montessori activities

photo credit: Yuganov Konstantin /

Practical life activities are an awesome way to teach kids new skills that will be very helpful in the future! And these activities can be really fun too! | Practical life activities for toddlers | Practical life activities for preschoolers | Montessori activities

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Raluca Loteanu

If you find yourself on this blog I invite you to discover us as the happy family we are, who look with optimism and joy at life. If you want to contact me, you can find me on email, I gladly respond to each message.

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