Exercises of Practical Life - Table of Contents

The Exercises of Practical Life lead a child through many facets of his daily life, prepare him for future work in every area of the children's house (casa), and build up independence. For more on the benefits of the exercises of practical life, see this Montessori Nugget.

This is the AMI core list for primary. It should be adapted for local customs and cultures; around age 4, the children can receive presentations on the practical life of other cultures.

Elementary children, middle school and older will receive a different form of practical life, but this list can set the stage for what to expect. Non-exhaustive ideas for the older child below.


Preliminary Exercises
General Overview
How to Carry a Working Mat
How to Place a Pitcher
How to Carry a Tray
How to Roll a Working Mat
How to Put Down a Chair
How to Sit On a Chair at a Table
How to Fold Napkins
How to Pour Grain
How to Pour Water
How to Fold a Dust-cloth to Put Away
How to Fold a Dust-cloth to Dust

Care of Self
How to Wash Hands
How to Polish Shoes
Snap Frame
Hook and Eye Frame
Button Frame
Buckle Frame
Zipper Frame
Bow Frame
Lacing Frame – V Pattern
Lacing Frame – X Pattern
Lacing Frame – Linear Pattern
Safety Pin Frame

Care of the Environment
How to Dust a Table
How to Use a Dustpan and Brush
How to Sweep
How to Wipe Up a Spill
How to Dust Leaves
How to Polish Glass
How to Care for Plants
How to Polish Wood
How to Polish Metal
How to Wash a Table
How to Wash Cloths
How to Iron
How to Arrange Flowers
How to Make Lemon Water
How to Wash Fruits and Vegetables
How to Peel & Cut Fruits and Vegetables
How to Bake

Grace and Courtesy
Introduction to Grace and Courtesy
How to Walk Around A Mat
How to Introduce Yourself
How to Apologize
How to Observe
How to Draw Attention
How to Accept a Compliment
How to Blow Your Nose
Own Grace and Courtesy

Control of Movement
Introduction to Walking on the Line
Walking on the Line
Introduction to the Silence Activity
The Silence Activity

Visual Art
Introduction to Visual Art
Rubbings (Exploration of Texture)
Cutting - Snipping
Cutting - Lines
Advanced Cutting
Contour Drawing with Crayon (Exploration of Line)
Drawing with Colored Pencils
Cutting and Gluing (Exploration of Space)
Painting (Exploration of Color)
Sculpting (Exploration of Form)
Beginning Sewing
Sewing a Button
Advanced Sewing – Running Stitch
Sewing a Pillow (Student’s Own Presentation)

Elementary and Beyond: 
There is no concise list. Elementary children will receive presentations based on home chores; classroom chores; what they need for Goings Out. And the process continues from there into adolescence which may include Grace and Courtesy on handling emotional situations and physical changes with grace.

Elementary practical life is also a bit more "real-life" without all the individual trays. The children can handle having a supply shelf with a stack of trays which they choose to collect their needed materials. 

Some ideas: 

This particular one has drawers that slide out. 
answering the phone
taking and giving messages
leaving messages


map reading
asking for directions
public safety

utilizing public buildings

basic car maintenance 

snow and leaf removal

preparing and serving meals

how to strike a match
how to light a candle
(in primary you could add "how to snuff a candle")

Feel free to add more in comments below! 


  1. I'm really enjoying your posts. Thank you!
    In our elementary classroom we also do:
    -Advanced sewing, basic tailoring, mending clothes, sewing on a button.
    -Tying different types of knots
    -Wood work
    -Wrapping gifts
    And more, I'll try to post some of our activities on my blog.

  2. Fantastic! If you don't mind, post a link here to your practical life post when you get a chance.

    The more ideas the merrier! Since there isn't a concise list at elementary, it can leave some people stranded for ideas ;)