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August 13, 2019

Montessori Practical Life for Toddlers: Mopping

Augustus is in a huge mopping phase right now. Every day after lunch he seems to come up to me and announce that he's going to mop! Then, he proceeds to get his mop, a bucket, fill with some water, and mop away. None of this surprises me at all! 

Mopping is such a wonderful Montessori practical life work for him at this point. It requires some maximum effort, there is a nice water sensory aspect, and he gets some control over others requesting they stay off his newly mopped area. 

Montessori 2-year-old stands with back to camera near a small bucket of water. In his hands is a child sized mop which he is using to clean the floor.

How Do You Introduce Mopping in Your Montessori Home?

So basically, for Gus, mopping is a win, win, win! And, for me, it's a bit messy still but, hey at 34 weeks pregnant, I'm not exactly doing a ton of mopping on my own. If you're looking to introduce mopping in your home to your toddler, here are some tips. 

Prepare the Environment

The first thing to do before introducing any practical task to a toddler is prepare the environment for success. For us, this means (1) having the materials needed to complete the work and (2) having those materials accessible. 

We keep the materials pretty simple for this, just a child sized mop, a bucket, and some water. He gets the water from our children's sink and we have showed him to use a small amount - somewhere around an 1-2 inches of water in the bucket at a time. 

Montessori toddler places small child sized mop into bucket of water to wash floors.
Young child mops floor in Montessori home by placing child sized mop into bucket of water.

Model and Work Together 

This is definitely not an activity we have just thrown at Gus without a lot of modeling and working together first. At first, this is something that I have just modeled with him around. This just happens naturally as I mop the floors (or in our case, me, Nora, or Henry mop the floors.) It's been a casual introduction since he was a baby. 

When he had the gross motor ability to actually undertake the task, I've made sure to specifically show him how to do each part of the work - how to gather materials, how to fill the bucket, how to pick a floor, how to dip the mop, how to wring out the mop (he's still working on this), and how to physically mop the floor. 

At this point, I take a step back from the process, but I do make myself available to provide support should he need it. Also, it's important to observe to see if I need to present something again, or change the way something has been prepared to help him be successful. 

Keep Your Expectations in Check 

Now, it can't be a practical life task without reminding myself, as the prepared adult, to keep my expectations in check. Gus doesn't mop the floor like I mop the floor. There are times when he uses too much water, or abandons his work after filling the bucket, or skips a step. He's 2, it's going to happen. I have to remember this is all part of the process, and eventually he will complete the process more completely. 

A look at a fun Montessori practical life work - mopping - at 2 years old. Here are the materials you need, the steps to take and the expectations to keep when you are introducing mopping as a practical life choice in your home. This Montessori activity keeps toddlers busy by working big muscles and helps them contribute to their community.

Have you tried mopping with your toddler? 


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Stone Family Living
I'm following along with all the #preparedadult posts on instagram as well, and loving it :) We so often forget this aspect of preparing the environment and materials.. Managing our own expectations is so important!