Importance of Practical Life activities

What is Practical life?

It is the most important part of a child’s development from infant to all the way up…

The purpose of Practical life activities is to help with the following:

  • Control of movement
  • Hand eye Coordination
  • Concentration
  • Order
  • Independence
  • Grace & Courtesy  

In an infant classroom, the children learn via exploring sensorially, manipulating the materials and develop basic life skills. Practical life lessons such as, toys, books, hanging mobiles, blocks, mirror etc. are kept within their reach for them to access easily which helps them with physical development. Holding the materials, listening to them (if they make sound), trying to taste etc. helps with refinement of different senses.

In a Toddler classroom, the children are moving around, choosing their interest of work, working with the materials, and learning the process of developing fine and gross motor skills. While working with Practical life lessons, such as, pouring, washing, spooning, puzzles, sweeping etc. they learn to be more independent and learn about their physical abilities. The students develop sense of personal space, trying to take turns as there is only one lesson of a kind, order in the classroom as the lessons on the shelf are kept in an orderly manner on a designated spot.

In a Primary classroom, the Practical life area plays a major role. For many children, who are coming to the school for the first time at the age of 3 years, they connect the practical life area of the classroom with their home environment. The way the home chores are done are very similar to the lessons of Practical life in a Primary classroom, such as, spooning, pouring, folding, sweeping, polishing, dressing up etc. The materials on the shelf are kept from left to right, easy to hard, simple to complex, dry to wet, top to bottom and so on…. The washing lessons are done in a circulation motions, which prepares them for handwriting skills later.

The children learn care of self and care of environment. Also, how to set up a table, how to water the plants, how to prepare snacks, and how to take care of their surroundings. All these activities help them with developing fine and gross motor skills, promotes order in their day and develop their concentration.

In all the stages of early development in a child, Practical life plays a major role. There are so many Practical life exercises that a child can do at home and learn the same skills from a very young age. Here is a list of suggested activities age wise.

Toddler Tasks (1.5-3 yrs.)Primary Tasks (3-6 yrs.) along with the previous ones
Help prepare snacks
Help with dishes
Pick up the toys
Put books in the basket
Help pick up the laundry
Hanging clothes to dry
Fold washcloths
Pick out clothes to wear
Get the shoes to wear
Help set the table
Throw trash in the bin
Sweep small areas
Help feed the pets    
Sweep a good size area
Prepare snacks
Wash the dishes
Put laundry & hang clothes to dry
Sort out clothes and fold them
Set up and clean the table
Help Vacuum
Feed pets
Choose clothes & shoes to dress himself
Tidy their room
Clean mirror and windows
Take care of the garden
Polishing silver  

By Harneet Soor
March 8th, 2023