A Montessori classroom features a range of materials that fall under the category of “Care of the Environment.” These are all practical activities that help keep the classroom clean, are fine and gross motor builders, and give the children a sense of pride and responsibility over their space!
You can provide materials for your child to help take care of your home environment as well. If you have the supplies your child needs ready to go and on a low shelf where they can access them, your child will enjoy these activities whenever the mood strikes.
Here are 3 perfect activities for your toddler (starting around 18 months) to help with around the house:
1. Dusting Plant Leaves
Plant leaves get dusty, but dusting them isn’t typically a first priority for busy families. Let this be your child’s responsibility!
Materials: A duster like a soft paint brush, a small ball of wool, a soft sponge, or a small cloth.
Task: Moving very carefully so as not to rip or tear the leaves, place one hand under the leaf to support it, and move the duster back and forth over the top of the leaf until shiny!
2. Cleaning Windows
Children love any type of water work, so call upon this natural inclination with a window cleaning activity! The windows might not be squeaky clean at first try, but it will improve over time.
Materials: Spray bottle with an easy squeeze grip, small squeegee, soft cloths (recycled burp cloths would work!)
Task: Invite your child to clean the windows in this order: Spray the window down with water, not so much that it puddles at the bottom. Using one or both hands, press the squeegee on the window at the top and pull straight down. Clean up any excess water on the window sill, squeegee or window with your clean cloth!
3. Hanging up Cloths on a Clothesline
Now, from cleaning windows above, you may have some rather wet cloths. That’s where this activity comes in! Another fine motor “Care of the Environment” task.
Materials: Small cloths that are wet from other cleaning activities, clothespins, and a small drying rack
Task: When your child is finished using a cloth to clean up a spill or wash windows, encourage them to hang it up to dry on a small drying rack that you have prepared for them. Place a small basket with clothespins next to the rack, and demonstrate how to fold the cloth over the line, secure it with a clothespin, and move on to the next cloth! In the summertime, make sure to take this activity out-of-doors.
These are three simple ways to get your child involved in caring for your home environment. As you notice their skills and interests are growing, find new exciting ways for them to get involved, like drying the dishes, feeding your animals, or watering plants!
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