Thursday, July 26, 2012

Practical Life

It's been a long time since I put together new practical life work for James. I guess that's because we've moved out of our classroom (it's now Juliet's Montessori bedroom) and school happens at the kitchen table where it's just not conducive to have loads of trays spread about.

But, truth be told, I miss creating these works so this past weekend I assembled four of them and I figure we'll just bring one out at a time. Here's what I made:

Polishing Sunglasses. I thought this was timely given the sunny season that's upon us here in Bermuda. To do this work, James will remove everything on the tray and arrange it neatly on his work table. He'll remove the glasses from the case, use the little brush (in the cup) to dust the lens. Then he'll open the water container (it's colored so he can easily see that the cotton swab he'll be using is wet - it'll absorb the blue color), dip the swab in and then gently coat the lenses. After that he'll use the cotton ball to remove the wetness and the polishing cloth to shine the lenses and the frame. The used materials will go into the waste bin and the work materials will be returned - neatly - to the tray.

Transferring Feathers. I think the photo is pretty self-explanatory. James will use the clothespin to transfer the feathers from one basket to the other and then back again. It's tricky and requires some focus and patience because the clothespin is tighter than a tweezers (though still completely manageable - I always test the work after I put it together) and the feathers are very fluffy and not very easy to "pinch". I know James will like this one. Oh and PS: a little Bermuda shout-out since I'm using the Somerset Cricket team's colors!

Changing Batteries in a Flashlight. We're in the midst of hurricane season here and one thing I guarantee you every house on this island has is AT LEAST one flashlight! We have several throughout the house and this one is James', which is kept in his room. To do this work James will unscrew the cap of the flashlight, remove the current set of batteries within, and discard them safely. He'll then open the little wooden chest (I always like to provide fun little container - it adds to the element of interest in the work) and remove the new set of batteries. To finish, he'll insert them into the flashlight, screw the cap back on and switch on the light to be sure he completed the work correctly. If not, he'll repeat the steps. Positive this one will be a huge hit and ALL of flashlights will be in for a battery makeover. :)

Open & Close Containers. I bought these little paint containers a couple of years ago. I knew they had some school potetnail (outside of holding paint), but I wasn't sure what. Lo and behold the day has come for these gems. They're pretty small, so again it'll take some patience to open them just right so the contents don't fly out! Inside of each container I put a single alphabet bead. To do this work, James will open a container, remove the bead and place it in the little wooden bucket :), then "discard" the now empty container into the other bowl. He'll repeat this until every container is emptied. Then he'll set out all of the letter beads onto his work table and proceed to identify as many words as he can spell. He'll record them in the little homemade notebook. James has really been into spelling lately, so I think he'll like this one, too.

After making these I was thinking it would be fun to do these more often. Maybe a few every week or two? Would you all like to see more of these practical life works?

To see more practical life work, check out the "On Our Shelves" set on my Flickr photostream.

~Thank you for your comments!~


Keowdie said...

I work for a school district, so we do homeschool during the summer & "regular school" during the school year. My middle son is 4yo, and is in his last year of preschool. Therefore, this year he gets introduced to the concept of "homework." I love your ideas for multistep independent tasks! I will definitely be borrowing some of these for him, since it will still give me time to do homework with my 4th grader (who has special needs).

Thank you for sharing!

Alicia said...

Those are great & the feather is one of those, "why didn't I think of that?" ones. Cool, I think we will try that soon.

kate said...

Wow, I really like that last one! My daughter isn't at the point of spelling yet, so maybe just arranging the letters into correct sequence would be fun for her.

Stephanie said...

I love love love your practical life works! Very fun! You are a rock star at this stuff!

Unknown said...

I love your practical life ideas! We are in the process of rearranging our home to make room for little one #3 coming in September, but I will definitely be using some of your ideas in the near future!

The girl who painted trees said...

We aren't doing much Montessori anymore, but I would still love seeing your trays. I hope you will have time to takes photos of them and share them with us!

Kethrim said...

I'd love a post/pictures of Juliet's Montessori bedroom. I'm looking forward to making one when my husband and I start having kids, so I'd love to see your design.

Jamie said...

Yes, please keep posting practical life activities! My 20 month old is really enjoying some basic practical life works, and I love using your posts/photostream for inspiration. Thanks for sharing!

Angela said...

I love these ideas. I would never have thought about having them practice putting batteries in a flashlight. Such a great idea!

Anonymous said...

My daughter is the smae age as James and she is outgrowing Montessori too. I am starting Shilling Math and Five in a Row... what do you think of those.


Counting Coconuts said...

Thank so much for your feedback! I'll do my best to post one new PL work each week.

James is well past tonging and pouring, but that doesn't mean we can't revisit these works for fun and skill reinforcement!

Sonya, I'm sorry, but I know nothing about those programs. :)

Unknown said...

Keep 'em coming!


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