A mop is one of the many practical life materials we have in our home. Otto loves mopping as he enjoys splashing around with water. Mopping is such valuable work, the child uses their whole body and the satisfaction at the end is priceless.
Above Otto is using the mini Vileda mop and bucket set. I love the bucket but I wish the mop head was thicker. We put just a few inches of water into the bucket with a touch of cleaner (we use a KINN floor wash as we enjoy the natural lavender) so our floor isn't swamped. We open our windows and doors so the floor dries quickly.
"His purpose is not a clean house, but the construction of himself, the development of his abilities, his being." - The Joyful Child, Susan Mayclin Stephenson.
Most mops with a telescopic handle are able to be shortened to the toddler's height. It's nice if you can find a mop similar to the one that you use, as the child's intent is often to imitate the work of their parents and caregivers. Otto is trying out the Swiffer, it comes past his shoulders but he is still able to control it well.
"It is precisely because of the valuable work in practical life that children in Montessori homes and schools are able to concentrate, make intelligent decisions and master the beginnings of other areas of study such as math, language, the arts and the sciences. But the purpose of this work is the inner satisfaction and support of the optimum development of the child. Following a successful, complete cycle of family work, a child becomes calm and satisfied and, because of this inner peace, full of love for the environment and for others." - The Joyful Child, Susan Mayclin Stephenson.
"It is our collaborative approach to the practical-life exercises that enables children to let their human tendencies and desire to imitate us guide their energies. We are to be leaders rather than "pushers". We might say, 'Oh, look crumbs, I'm going to clean them up.' Or 'There is water on the floor here, let's get a mop.' " - Montessori From The Start, Paula Polk Lillard and Lynn Lillard Jessen.
Our firm favourite mop is one with a thick cotton head. It cleans well and is also absorbent. I give it a quick rinse at the end of the week and allow it to dry outside after every use. Wooden handles are good as you can, if needed, shorten them to the toddler's height.
Otis used to like mopping with his rain boots on to prevent him from slipping over, it takes a while for the child to learn not to walk in the wet parts and it can get slippery. If it's a cold or wet day we finish by wiping the floor with a dry cloth.