Practical Life Essential Items

Practical life collage 1

Clockwise from top left hand corner:

Apron – kitchen
Broom
Apron – oiled
Brush and pan
Bucket
Gardening tools (rake, spade, trowel, fork)
Wheelbarrow
Jugs
Bucket (and mop)
Wavy chopper
First knife
Watering can
Kitchen utensils (mixing bowl, spatula, whisk, measuring cups, measuring spoons, vegetable brush, wooden spoon)
Jugs

I have been researching practical life items that I think we need as this is the area that we are focusing on this year. I try to think ahead – far but enough that I won’t be rushing about making mad purchases or waiting for ages because I need something now – but I have had a number of frustrating experiences shopping locally. Partly as I have Joshua and I dislike dragging him around shopping but partly that what I want specifically just is not available. As a result I am finding it easier to do most of my shopping online and even with shipping it seems to be a more economical option too, not only are a lot of the products cheaper (yes, even with shipping or from overseas), it saves me time driving around and I get a wider selection of things to choose from and can get it all in one bulk order. However there are many local places you can get a lot of these supplies which is good as it supports local business. (You need to be a bit organised and know what you want though so it helps to have a list of what you want/need).

Apron – kitchen
Wonderful for child to grab apron and put this on as the apron clearly defines the activity being undertaken. You can have several little aprons for different activities such as cooking, watering plants, cleaning and gardening. If you’re a bit crafty you can make it yourself using this pattern. The apron should be easy to put on and be taken off easily by the child and this pattern meets these requirements. Other thrifty options include an apron that is available from Ikea here and here, these are not exact but you can do some alterations to the waist tie to make it easier to tie up.

Broom
This can be indoors or outdoors. A millet one is great for outdoors, there are little brooms suitable for indoors too, we use one regularly to sweep up messes into the dustpan.

Apron – oiled
Great for water play, painting or cleaning. There are several suppliers of these, I love the ones from How We Montessori here.  There are also oiled aprons available on Etsy through various suppliers.

Brush and pan
We obtained a cheap small blue one from our local $2 shop. I really like ours even though it is plastic because it is small and light weight.

Gardening tools (rake, spade, trowel, fork)
Essential for the budding gardener. We obtained ours locally on sale but there are several suppliers of children’s gardening tools including Bunnings and Masters (in Australia these are hardware shops). These are great as children should have child sized tools to do their work.

Wheelbarrow
These are a must have from the age of 2. They are great for a child to heft, put things into and move around the yard and help out with gardening. You can get a wheelbarrow from Bunnings or Masters here in Australia, otherwise there are fancier ones you can get from Amazon, Fishpond and Montessori equipment suppliers. We kept our eyes peeled and got one from Aldi on sale a few months ago.

Bucket (and mop)
Wonderful practical life activity for children. These should be child sized and are a great activity for a child to undertake. This can be used to collect rubbish and put into the bin (e.g. after breakages etc) or used for cleaning or out in the garden. With a sponge this can be filled with water and used to wipe down a table and chairs. So many uses!

Kitchen gadgets
These are just fun. We have a wavy chopper, cherry pitter, apple cutter and strawberry slicer. Other fun ones are banana slicers, apple slinky maker (child cranks the handle and peels the apple themselves). I think the wavy chopper though is essential, as well as a peeler (a normal hand held one to peel carrots, apples etc). A lot of these items can be found at household items shops such as House and The General Trader.

First knife
We are trying out a few options here, we have a first knife and also a Kiddie Kutter, both of which are safe first knife options to try for Joshua to start cutting with a real knife. Small cutlery knives can be purchased from Ikea as well.

Watering can
This is a lovely English watering can from Haws which is on my wish list for Joshua. It is lovely as it has a long spout that goes straight to the base of the plant and is good because it illustrates clearly to the child that the water needs to go to the base of the plant and not to water the leaves. You can get this in Australia from here. We currently have a little watering can that we obtained from Bunnings.

Kitchen utensils (mixing bowl, spatula, whisk, measuring cups, measuring spoons, vegetable brush, wooden spoon)
Shops such as the General Trade, House and Matchbox carry great small items. They can be purchased locally. Montessori Child has a lovely set which is available to be purchased and can be purchased here.

Jugs
I have generally used creamer jugs which you can get locally and used these while Joshua was learning to pour. He is proficient now and we have a range of various little jugs he can use himself. I also found that locally there are shops such as The General Trader that carry jugs like the one pictured.

All of these items are available through the following Montessori and children suppliers so I have not listed specific recommendations for every item. Online suppliers I recommend for Australia are Montessori Child ShopHow We Montessori Shop and A2Z Montessori Australia.

Online suppliers I recommend outside of Australia are For Small Hands and Michael Olaf.

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3 thoughts on “Practical Life Essential Items

  1. At what age do you recommend starting these things? My daughter is a year old so I’m guessing we are getting close? (she is not walking on her own yet). I did just get a small brush and pan today! Thanks

    • Hi Jessica
      I would recommend having these items available now. Practical life is a focus up until age 6 so it is worth having items available for your daughter to use, especially at home. Yes you are definitely getting close to the time you would need other items (broom etc) but you can start with easy things like just a sponge and bucket to wipe things – she can sit on a chair and wipe the space she sits at – or you can already practice things like pouring exercises with jugs in a tray. There are so many things you do too such as transferring items with tongs, wiping, washing that can all be commenced now! Hope this helps.

  2. Pingback: Toddler toys and activities at 29 months – and a surprise giveaway! | Montessori Life As We Know It

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