Did you know that you can include Montessori activities in your daily routine without needing to get any materials at all? It’s true! Montessori scope and sequence include very important areas for young children called Practical Life, Sensorial Activities, and Grace and Courtesy.
Practical Life, as the name suggests, are daily activities like cooking, cleaning, and caring for self. Maria Montessori discovered that the young child actually longs to be a part of these daily activities and takes pride in being able to contribute to their family or community in a real way. Instead of sending the child off to play, Montessori education involves the child in these activities that prepares the child for more academic education later on.
Before I give you some examples of these activities you can do at home, it’s first important to know how to present these activities to your child. Understand that the young child is just learning social norms and expectations we have for them. As a result, instead of telling the child not to pick their nose (for example), it’s important to show them what they can do instead.
To present an activity to a young child around the age of 3 to 6 years old, you want to show the child what you will be using, say what you will be doing, and then with very few words show the child how each task or activity is done. Once you have shown your child, invite him or her to try. Respect if the child is not willing to try at that specific time, and try again at another time.
A few examples of practical life activities that you can do with your child are:
- Cleaning a table
- Pouring water from pitcher to cup (preferably using child-sized tools)
- Peeling fruits or hard boiled eggs
- Carrying a child-sized chair carefully with minimal noise
- Setting a table
- Sweeping or mopping
- Cutting with a child-safe knife
- Baking or cooking
You get the picture—any daily life activity you can include your child in, do so. Show the child how the work is done, and invite them to try it.
The next area you can include your child on Montessori activities are sensorial activities. With sensorial activities, Dr. Montessori did recommend very specific materials for children to work on these skills. However, many Montessori homeschool moms have discovered that these activities can be easily introduced through daily life as well.
These are some of the sensorial activities you can introduce to your child:
- Smelling different scents or foods and speaking about their differences
- Tasting different flavors using language for each (i.e., sour, sweet, bitter, etc.)
- Comparing rough and smooth surfaces
- Showing the child that similar objects can come in different sizes (i.e., buttons, toy dinosaurs, etc.)
- Testing different objects weights using language like heavy, heavier, heaviest, or light
- Working through colors and looking at darker or lighter shades of the same color to compare
The last group of Montessori activities you can introduce to your child are grace and courtesy lessons.
- Greeting a person who visits at home
- How and when to use “Thank You,” “Excuse Me,” “Sorry,” etc.
- How to blow one’s nose
- How to wait for one’s turn
- How to wait in line
- How to sit on a chair
- How to properly say goodbye
It can be easy to take these for granted and to expect the child to know these societal norms without specific instruction, but remember that most young children are still learning these invisible rules and a great place to learn them is in a home environment. For these activities, role playing is a great way to practice as well as to explain to the child beforehand what the expectations are for a particular situation. For example, when going to the supermarket, we can explain to our child that we have to wait in line to take our turn at checkout.
Montessori education goes beyond the academic activities we can do with the child and helps prepare children for real life. Start by including these Montessori activities into your daily homeschool and life routine, and you’ll be well on your way to raising a confident, contributing child.