Written by: Kendall A. | Umm Iman
Here is a fun, “Practical Life” activity for littles that is seasonally appropriate.
Context: The Practical Life area of the Montessori classroom is the first space that children see when they enter the classroom. The reason for this, is because it is the most familiar to children in reflecting many of the activities that they encounter at home, ie: sweeping, pouring, etc. Practical Life focuses on the development of life skills and should be culturally appropriate to the children of the classroom, thus some of the work found in a classroom in one country may look slightly different from that of the work found in another country, though the types of work are the same. The work found in the PL area includes the following: body management, grace and courtesy, scooping, squeezing, twisting, grasping and controlling, rolling and folding, stringing, pounding, care of the person, and care of the environment. As homeschoolers, implementing the PL curriculum into your daily home routine is the easiest and most natural aspect of the curriculum!
A few points I want to point out in the lesson below:
- I did not include the step-by-step presentation, because it is pretty self-explanatory, but basically, you can show the child how to hammer a single golf tee into the pumpkin and then let them try it out, uninterrupted (until or unless they become unsafe with the material).
- “Language” can be introduced to the child before and/or after the lesson, however; while the child is using the material, we do not want to interrupt her and thus break her focus. Instead we allow her to use the material as she wishes, until she is finished.
- “Points of Consciousness” are what the child is naturally noticing and learning, without an adult needing to point it out.
- “Control of Error” is what makes Montessori materials self-teaching. The material itself shows the child when it is correct or incorrect, thus learning is self-directed and not by the teacher.
- “Variations” these are ways that you can change the activity to respark interest. Remember that if that something is slightly different, the whole activity feels different for the child!
- “Extensions” are how you can increase the level of difficulty in an activity.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Activity: Pumpkin Pounding
Materials: Pumpkin, child-safe hammer, 10 wooden golf tees (I chose to include some other materials for fun, but this list identifies the basics of what are needed)
Direct Aims of the Activity: To develop a sense of order, concentration, coordination, and independence in the child.
Indirect Aims: To pound golf tees into a pumpkin.
Language to Introduce to Child: pumpkin, hammer, golf tees, pounding
Points of Consciousness for the Child: “I should make sure that I hold the golf tee at the shaft so that I do not hammer my hand.” “I should apply a lot of strength in hammering in order to pierce the pumpkin, but also exercise care so as to not hurt myself.”
Control of Error: The child sees that the golf tees are hammered into the pumpkin. After cleaning up, the child sees that no golf tees are left in the pumpkin.
Variations: change the type of hammer used, change the color of the golf tees, change the object being hammered into the pumpkin, change the size of the pumpkin
Extensions: draw patterns on the pumpkin for the child to hammer on the line, as opposed to free hand
Source: Kendall A.