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Practical Life Ideas - juicing, shelling, zesting, crushing + more

Practical life activities at How we Montessori juicing  shelling  zesting  peeling and crushing

Have you tried any new or different practical life activities recently? While there are activities that become favourites and the children love to do, we also like to introduce new activities depending on the season or what the rest of the family is engaged with. Occasionally I will try things that my child has struggled with previously to see if they are ready for it.

I've tried garlic crushing many times with my three-year-old but he didn't have the strength to use the garlic crusher. This week we tried a new rocking garlic crusher, and while it was still difficult he was able to crush the garlic. Here are four new practical life activities we've tried. We've used these with our child as an older three-year-old but generally, I would recommend them from four years. Please note that close supervision is required of these activities at all times. 

Squeeze limes practical life tray at how we montessori 2021

Juicing a lime. 

Cutting and juicing limes at How we Montessori

First, the child cuts the lime in half. We are using the serrated KinderKitchen Knife but a longer knife would work better.

Cutting and juicing limes at How we Montessori

Then using the hand lime juicer (similar) the child squishes the lime and the juice comes out. This is harder than it looks, the child has to squeeze the juicer hard, also while holding the juicer up and not tipping over the bowl underneath. We are using limes as they are smaller and easier to use with the hand juicer than lemons.

Cracking walnuts practical life activity at How we Montessori 2021 (1)

Shelling walnuts. 

Using a nut cracker at How we Montessori (2)

Fresh walnuts are the best. Here the child can crack the shell with a walnut cracker (AU), we might have to get this Squirrel Nutcracker, it's the cutest! We get our fresh walnuts from King Valley (AU). We also decided to have our three-year-old wear safety glasses while cracking the walnuts. 

Using a nut cracker at How we Montessori (1)

Then the child can pull out the walnut. My three-year-old enjoyed this but my 10 and 13-year-old sons loved it. The older two boys sat down and shelled kilos of walnuts in one go.

Zesting at how we Montessori practical life with lemon

Zesting a lemon. 

Zesting lemons at how we Montessori

The child uses the zester to zest the peel of the lemon. This was pretty tough and I would probably use the zester side of our grater next time. It's hard for the child to get the pressure right. 

Garlic press crush practical life activity at How we Monessori (3)Crushing garlic. 

Garlic peeler at How we Montessori

This was a breakthrough for us. Otto has tried crushing garlic many times with a standard garlic crusher but it was just too hard for him to use. We use garlic in the kitchen all the time so I decided to try a new tool. First, the child peels the garlic. I cut the very tips off the garlic cloves so it's easier to get the peel off. The child puts the garlic into the blue peeler (similar) and rolls it around with some pressure. Otto loved this peeling part the best. When the child pulls the garlic out it's super easy to take the peel off. In the future, I might present peeling garlic as its own activity as Otto was engaged and could do this for a longer period of time. 

Garlic crushing at How we Montessori practical life tray

The child applies the rocking garlic crusher (similar), it is important the child presses down hard, in this case, Otto can get his weight behind it, and rock it. It's not perfect but it works, it's the best garlic crusher I've found for young children!! While we use a lot of garlic it's also easy to store in the fridge for a few days. 🧄❤️

Garlic crushing at How we Montessori practical life tray

I've presented all of these activities in trays on the child-size table however, I also use many of these activities and more at the kitchen bench, often for my child to do while I'm cooking. It helps to keep him busy, working and engaged in the kitchen while I can still closely supervise and make dinner!

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