Practical Life activities should be, above all else, practical: real activities that have a purpose and a goal. Practical Life should never, EVER be busy work. Busy work is insulting to the child’s intelligence and developmental drives.
So, let’s say you want to introduce transferring with tongs. Instead of the ubiquitous pom-poms you see all over Pinterest, how about using broccoli?
Here’s what I did with Zach (who just turned 3), when he asked if he could help in the kitchen:
I had already chopped some broccoli (before he asked to help), so I put it in a bowl and had him transfer it piece by piece from the bowl to the hot buttered pan with a pair of long tongs (he has small ones but I didn’t want him to burn himself by getting his hand too close to the pan).
He’s been cooking over a hot stove for over a year now, so I only had to remind him at the beginning to work carefully and not touch the pan or the heat source. When he was transferring the cooked broccoli back to the bowl, he dropped one stalk. He picked it up with his hand, and immediately dropped it again. It was hot! Good learning experience…
He was so proud of his contribution to our meal, and he learned so much in that short amount of time.
I don’t know about you, but I’ll take broccoli over pom-poms any day.