Set Up A Practical Life Invitation

Today’s challenge is a personal favourite of mine — setting up a practical life invitation!

We love practical life lessons, but a good place to start is a simple invitation – today, I’m sharing several easy practical life invitations that you can provide to your child in the kitchen.

Tips for Setting up a Successful Practical Life Invitation for your Child - part of the #30daystoMontessori Challenge, bringing your heart and home closer to Montessori

Day 5: Set up a “Practical Life” Invitation

Most of this week’s challenges have been set in the kitchen, and while this challenge is perfect for getting kids involved in the kitchen, practical life can happen in any corner of the house!

A Montessori practical life invitation has a few components:

  • engages fine motor skills
  • a real, practical purpose and might mimic an activity that the child has witnessed the parents doing
  • an inherent order (one task must be done before another)
  • isolate an activity or new skill
  • and, must be inviting; the child must be inclined and want to engage with the activity

Set up a Montessori Invitation #30daystoMontessori

There are a few Montessori curricula which hold that pouring, folding, and other preliminary skills must be taught first, but I’m not going to be as purist in my approach. Preliminary skills are good to consider and should all eventually be taught, but I wouldn’t hold off on another age-appropriate activity just because a child hasn’t learned how to fold cloths yet.

Here are a few suggestions for practical life invitations, but really — anything will work! Think of something simple that your child has not yet done in the kitchen, and give them the opportunity. And, please don’t stop and get hung up on the activities that you don’t yet have the supplies for (or fixate on the foods that you currently don’t have in your kitchen) — look in the fridge, in the cupboards, find something that will work, and use it!

Pouring #30daystoMontessori

Pouring

There are so many variations of pouring, and you can choose wet or dry pouring depending on your comfort. (Dry could use dried beans or rice, or even sand — we used rainbow-coloured barley in the the lesson linked to above.) Provide a cloth with wet pouring to encourage children to clean up any potential spills.

Pick me a grape #30daystoMontessori

Picking Grapes off of the Vine

This is a great “gentleness of touch” activity, as smooshed grapes provide feedback (called “control of error“) that the child needs to be more gentle. I provided a handled colander so that the child can also wash the grapes after picking them, but a bowl would be just as good.

Spreading butter #30daystoMontessori

Spreading Butter

Make sure the butter is room temperature (or try to pick an easily spreadable alternative), provide a sturdy plastic knife or a dull metal one — I love our butter spreaders for their shortness, sturdy grip, and wide blade, but use what you have for now. I would personally opt for a cutting board or a plate without a “lip” so that the edge doesn’t interfere with the spreading process.

Making a sandwich for Montessori practical life #30daystoMontessori

Making a sandwich

Maybe your child has already mastered spreading — why not get some ingredients ready and let them make their own sandwich! Ella started making sandwiches at 2 years old, and as much as I’m a frugal mama, it was worth purchasing pre-sliced swiss cheese for her to have that independence. (PS – how did my baby get so old?!)

Cutting up fruit

A banana is the easiest fruit to start with, but peeling an orange, using an apple slicer, or hulling strawberries, are all great practical life opportunities.

lemonade invitation #30daystoMontessori

Citrus Juicing

We’ve made lemonade and orange juice, and while they are a bit advanced, a child really only needs to juice a couple of lemons or oranges to make enough for a small glass (for themselves to enjoy).

Tips for Setting up a Successful Practical Life Invitation for your Child - part of the #30daystoMontessori Challenge, bringing your heart and home closer to Montessori

Which simple kitchen invitations would you consider giving your children?

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6 Comments

  1. What great ideas! Love the simplicity of each one, especially the grapes idea! Being “gentle” is quite the skill to learn, and I think it’s hard for little ones to understand! They know what “gentle” means, but I don’t think they realize what’s too hard vs gentle until they try a practical lesson like this.

  2. I love all your practical life activities here 🙂 Pinning this for reference. Your little girl looks adorable especially that picture of hers putting butter on the bread.

  3. Love this! I have always had issues on how to do “inviting” activities! But a solution for your knife issue.. Babies/Toys R Us carries full child silverware sets! The handles are plastic but the utensil part is actually metal! The knife is nice and blunt ant the fork has a little groove that is higher to help with cutting things up. We have a set for each of our older kids (2y and 4y), they love them. My 2yr refuses to eat with any thing other than her “pink” utensils. My 4y has graduated to using salid forks.

    1. Oh, I love our knives! But it’s good to know that Toys R Us has a good alternative for those who want to quickly run to the store or pick something up on a shopping trip and not order them online! Thanks for sharing 🙂

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