Posted on 14 April 2016

We were browsing Mother mag the other day and came across this brilliant list of Montessori inspired activities to keep any toddler busy on an afternoon at home. We think each idea sounds fun, educational and, maybe most importantly, is totally doable and you most likely have already have all supplies on hand at home.

The activities below are meant to encourage independence and build real life skills (what Montessori calls “Practical Life”), perfect for that headstrong toddler who wants to do things on their own. Let us know if you and your tot try any of these ideas. We’d love to hear how you both find them!




Spoon Transfer


Small tray or placemat

2 small bowls

1 spoon

Dry rice or lentils


Place the bowls on the tray or placemat to define the area of space where your child will be working (a hallmark of Montessori activities). Demonstrate carefully spooning the rice or lentils completely from one bowl to the other. Make sure you show your child how to clean up the spills, as well!

Dry & Wet Pouring


Small tray or placemat

2 small glasses, with or without spouts

For dry pouring you can use dry rice or lentils

For wet pouring using colored water is best, so you child can see what they are pouring. You can use a drop of food coloring or throw an old washable marker into a bottle of water. It will color the water and using a washable marker with insure easy clean up.

Have a sponge handy for wet pouring


Place the glasses on the tray or placemat. Demonstrate carefully pouring the rice, lentils, or water back and forth between the two glasses. Again,,make sure you show them how to clean up the spills (with the sponge for wet pouring), too!

Jars & Lids


Small basket

5-8 various containers with different types of lids


Starting with all of the lids on the containers, demonstrate taking each lid off of each container and laying them on the table. Then, show your child how to put all of the lids back on the containers and return them to the basket. Finally, let them have at it themselves!

Cutting with Scissors


Small tray or placemat

Child-sized scissors

Strips of colored paper or any paper from your recycling bin will work

Small bowl


Place all of the materials on the tray or mat. Demonstrate cutting the strips of paper into small pieces, holding the strip over the bowl to collect the cut pieces of paper. If you want to extend the activity, you can give your child a whole piece of paper and a glue stick for them to make a picture with the cut pieces of paper.

Setting the Table




Utensils (fork, knife, and/or spoon)


Cup or glass

Basket or container that can hold all the items listed above


Start with all the items neatly placed in the basket or container. Demonstrate how to set a place at the table, starting with the placemat and carefully and thoughtfully placing the other items on the mat. You can do this right before mealtime in preparation to eat or you can show them how to put it away after a meal.

Flower Arranging


Small tray or placemat

Flowers of various colors, shapes, and sizes

Small vase

Small pitcher filled with water




Place all of the materials on the tray or mat. Demonstrate carefully pouring water into the vase, cleaning up any spills with the sponge. Select a few flowers to put in the vase, using the scissors to cut the stems if needed. Let your child follow your example, creating a little centerpiece or several small arrangements.

via Mother Mag

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