Tuesday, January 28, 2014

meaningful work for children

Sometimes I catch myself trying to get-it-all-done while the little ones are napping and then stop to wonder- why I'm rushing through it all Take time. Breathe In. Take care. Breathe Out. These duties can be accomplished together mindfully and joyfully (imagine that!). My children naturally gravitate towards me as I flow from task to task. Sometimes they need to busy their hands, other times they are happy to just be close to me while they are immersed in their own imaginative games and play. Here is a list of some of meaningful, engaging and joyful work for hands of all sizes: 

In the garden 
Raking the leaves
Mowing the lawn (we got the lawnmower at a garage sale)
Planting seeds
Picking vegetables
Picking flowers for the house
Watering the garden
Feed our (new) quails
Search for quail eggs
Putting scraps in the compost

Play ironing
Folding doll clothes, facecloths, cloth napkins and towels
Sweeping and mopping
Using the dustpan
Putting rubbish in the bin
Passing the pegs to you to hang the clothes
Taking turns with the vacuum
Sprinkling bi-carb in the bathtub and giving it a scrub (a favourite around here)
Rubbing wooden furniture and toys with beeswax polish
Spraying and wiping windows and mirrors (white vinegar and water spray bottle) 

In the Kitchen
Setting the table
Washing the dishes
Scrubbing potatoes
Cutting soft vegetables and fruits with a dull knife
Spinning salad Making muffins
Kneading dough Rolling out pizza dough
Putting pizza toppings on the dough
Grating cheese
Husking corn
Shelling peas
Peeling and/or grating carrots
Peeling potatoes

Children take such pride in their work. Sometimes they feel small and often helpless but these tasks enable them to find confidence, focus and meaning. For more examples of meaningful work you can refer to this wonderful article with suggestions. In Australia, to find children's size cuttingboards, knives, graters, peelers, brooms, mops etc.  I highly recommend the How We Montessori Shop (no affiliation). 

Please do leave any other suggestions in the comments section if you have them!
~ This post is a modified version of a post originally published in November 11th, 2011 here


Jacqui Calvert said...

Some lovely ideas, thanks for sharing. Thanks also for the article link, I'm learning more and more about the Waldorf approach and it resonates so strongly.

Lauren said...

I just came across your blog this evening, and it is just filled with so much good stuff! You take some really neat photographs. And I like how you get your kids involved, my parents always encouraged my sister and I to help out and do things together growing up. Whereas I've met 21 year olds that have never swept a floor in their lives (one of my good friends actually! I had to teach her at work)!


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