Montessori Education & Children's Books 0-12y

Practical activities in the home: Caring for plants

When we went into lockdown last Spring, I removed all toys from our living room to make space for more books and plants.

My daughters love our urban jungle now and like to care for them.

A Montessori environment would always have some plants, the make the environment beautiful and offer opportunities for practical activities. 

Children can:
- Learn the botanical name & habitat of the plant
- Learn how to check the soil to assess if the plant is thirsty
- Water & mist the plant: this requires coordination and control of the amount of water released
- Dust&clean the leaves: essential for photosynthesis and a very relaxing activity for the child, super quick to prepare for the parent.

You will need:

1- a tray (any tray, not a fancy “children’s tray”, just a tray. Why? It helps to keep things organised, helping the child to star and complete the activity independently. Having stuff on the floor wouldn’t do the job. Your child would either call you twenty times or get lost in the process and end up wiping the floor instead if he is very young:) 
2- Some cotton pads or gauze swabs
3- 2 small bowls
4- 1 small bucket or bigger bowl
5- 1 jug full of water (a reasonable amount, enough for the child to complete the activity, no more than you can accept ending up on the floor
6- 1 cloth (optional, depending on the child's age)

Take 5 mins to gather everything and prepare the activity. Only then offer it to the child. Arrange objects from left to right, in order of use. Make repetition easy.

If the activity is prepared, the child can work independently for longer.
Always show the activity first. Do the movements slowly.
Don’t assume anything is straightforward and that it’s ok to just quickly explain it with words. 

1- Pour some water into one of the small bowls
2- Take a cotton pad, wet and squeeze it
3- Gently wipe off the dust from each leaf, from top to bottom.
4- Rinse and squeeze the cotton pad-repeat
5- When the cotton pad is dirty, discard it in the empty bowl, when the water is dirty discard it in the bucket. Pour some fresh one. Take a clean pad.
6- When you’re done, use the cloth to clean up any spilling and empty the bucket in the sink, rinse it, dispose the cotton.

Put everything back for the next time.
Like everything involving water, young children will need some redirection. Try to be patient and help them finish their work.

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