I'm never at a loss to find new practical life activities. I look around our home and think of all the things my three-year-old still has to learn! How about learning to fill the pepper mill or using a combination lock? Here are four new practical life activities we've been trying this week.
- Filling a Pepper Mill - dry pouring with a funnel, including opening and closing the mill. The funnel is interesting to use, if you pour in too much or too quickly in it will get blocked, the child needs to pour the peppercorns slowly and smoothly. We can also practice grinding some pepper at the end.
- Using a Combination Lock - there are lots of different combination locks available starting with those with three numbers. Our combination lock has five numbers. The child can use the number provided on the paper and make the corresponding number on the lock. When the numbers match the child will be rewarded with the lock unlocking.
- Putting Batteries in a Torch - the child can unscrew the head of the torch and put the batteries into the barrel. The child can put the head back on the torch and if the batteries are in the right way and the torch head is on correctly/tight enough, the torch will turn on. Remember to first ensure the child knows how to use the torch, turn it on and off, knows not to look directly at the light, and not to shine the light into others' eyes.
- Filling and Hanging a Bird Feeder - the child can use a scoop to fill the bird feeder, then we can have a look in our garden to choose a suitable place to hang it.
Otto spent a good ten minutes looking at and peeling the peppercorns first - they smell so good.
This is a practical life activity that isn't just about developing fine motor skills and concentration but also teaching the child about the workings of the home and kitchen. Once the child has mastered this they will be able to refill the pepper mill whenever needed. This so helps the child understand how the mill works and perhaps it's a little science, engineering lesson too.
This combination lock has frustrated Otto. Perhaps I could have presented a smaller three-number combination lock first. He hasn't had success with it so far, but he constantly goes back to it, constantly working on it. So I am not going to remove it, I feel like he is making progress and will get a lot of satisfaction when he opens it.
Otto is obsessed with torches. It feels like a good time to show him how they work and how to use one. Changing the batteries is just one part of that.
I love the control of error here. If the batteries are recharged and are in correctly, and the head is on properly, the light will turn on.
This may be hard to replicate. But if you are cleaning out or putting out a new bird feeder you can allow the children to take the lead. We can also discuss where to hang the feeder and work out the needs of our local wild birds.