Practical Life activities include among others, care for self and others and care of the environment. Caring for plants is part of caring for the environment and it is a wonderful opportunity for a child to develop responsibility, discipline, and most importantly affection for nature.
"There must be a provision for the child to have contact with nature; to understand and appreciate the order, the harmony and the beauty in nature." Dr. Maria Montessori.
We are using this Watering Plants activity. (Buy the watering can separately here).
From Spring until late October, we have our plants outdoors on a deck to enjoy the sun. For Adrian, taking care of plants is a fun and purposeful activity as he gets to be outside, enjoying the fresh air and sun, and he has a purpose – taking care of another living thing.
Adrian likes observing the water being absorbed into the soil. He knows that every living thing needs water and that the plant is living, and thus needs water to live. I also emphasized that although crucial to life, overwatering can hurt the plant, so he should not water too much.
An emerald mister (buy here) allows a child to hold the mister with one hand while pressing the pump-top with the other for misting and cleaning leaves. (Nearing his 3rd birthday, Adrian has just enough strength to use this mister.)
Adrian also cuts dried parts of the plant to divert plant's valuable resources to its healthy part. Caring for plants offers Adrian an opportunity to establish the connection with nature and develop a true affection for it. Children want to take care of Mother Earth and all its living things and they will care more about it if they have a relationship with nature. And the only way to develop such a relationship is for children to experience nature fully, by caring for it. Practical Life experiences that are rich with sensory stimulation, will engage intellectually and emotionally and will make children feel not only connected to but also an integral part of nature.
For more on caring for plants, see here a roundup post "💦Caring for 🌺Orchids at 3 Yo • Montessori 🙌🏻Practical Life Activity • Care of the 🌐Environment." Read here a post about Adrian watering plants at 26 months.