Montessori Practical Life Lesson: The Snap Dressing Frame

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It’s another Montessori dressing frame day! Today we’re highlighting the snap frame.

In each of our Montessori practical life lessons, we try to point out a little bit about the technique and theory behind the Montessori practical life lessons. For me, the excitement in the Montessori method is not just that the child learns how to do things for herself or learns new facts and figures. It’s how the Montessori method contributes to many facets of the child’s development.

Montessori (2)

We can look at the surface of a lesson like the snap frame, and we can look a little deeper. On the surface, the child is learning to manipulate snaps so that she can dress herself. Fun and practical! A little deeper, we see that she’s developing neural motor connections, following logical steps, exercising decision–making when she chooses to do the activity, problem–solving when she sees her own mistake,  and so much more.

On the last note: seeing her own mistake. In Montessori teacher training, it’s emphasized that the teacher try to interfere as little as possible, once the child has been shown the lesson and tries to do it.

During the child’s activity, the teacher does not correct or compliment. The child is given the chance to see her own mistake and figure out how to solve it. Also, the young child’s interest and concentration is tenuous, and any interruption–negative or positive–may “break the spell.”

So, let’s look at the snap dressing frame, so you can add it to your child’s choices!

How to Present the Montessori Snap Frame


  • Direct: to develop the finger control and dexterity to manipulate snaps.
  • Indirect: independence and concentration.

Material: a Montessori snap frame (or you can make your own frames)

Age: 2 1/2 – 4


1. Show the child how to properly carry the frame to the table, grasping each side. Place the frame on the table and sit down.

2. Beginning at the top, hold the left flap down using your left hand.

3. Near the top snap, grasp the top (right) flap between your thumb and forefinger of right hand.

4. Pull right and listen for the snap.

5. Proceed downward with all snaps.

6. Open the fabric to show that it is fully disengaged. Close the fabric.

7. Steady the fabric as before with left hand. With right pincer grasp, grasp the right flap near the top snap. Fold a little back to reveal the snap.

8. Center the hole of the snap over the stem, then use your forefinger to push down on the snap. Listen for the snap.

9. Continue down the frame.

10. Invite the child to try.

Points of Interests:

  • Does the child listen for the snap?
  • Does she line up the snaps and stems one-to-one properly?

Note: You may wish to highlight by a comment that the hole of the snap lines up directly over the stem.


To learn more about Montessori theory, please visit Beth’s blog A Montessori Lexicon, and you can also find her on Teachers Pay Teachers.

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