Montessori Ideas: Real Tools, Real Work

Practical Life for the older child can be challenging. The novelty of the two-year old scrambling eggs or the four-year old doing laundry can be engaging for both parent and child. When thinking about my 7 year old doing these same tasks it falls more into expectation rather than a growth activity.

In order to keep our kids maturing and progressing in Practical Life we must observe their capabilities and be willing to include then in all aspects of family life. My husband is very handy; being very handy has led him to have a long list of to-dos and house projects. Including the kids, ages 5 and 7, in these activities requires more time and more patience but I am proud that they are learning these skills at a young age.

My daughter, age 7, helped my husband build a railing on our deck. She was able to help with measuring and drawing the lines on where to cut. Slow methodical movements were used to show her how to use the saw and then my husband helped her guide the saw to cut. Safety was reiterated many times to emphasize that she was using real tools that could really hurt, but also that with proper precaution building can be very safe

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My son, age 5, took on an age appropriate task of his own. I purchased the MALA tabletop paper holder for the kids to use for art projects. Ikea products are great for building beginners as the instructions are very similar to that of Legos. My son felt confident laying out the pieces and following the instructions with little adult intervention. The small wrench that came with the product (and all Ikea stuff) proved challenging for his little hands so my husband helped him tackle the screws using a drill, again with proper guidance and supervision.

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This beginner DSC_0178projects and skills will likely grow larger in scale as they grow larger in scale challenging both parents and kids to develop more skills and more patience.

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