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Montessori Tea Party and Kitchen Practical Life Activities {Confessions of a Montessori Mom}

Montessori Tea Party and Kitchen Practical Life Activities

Montessori tea party activities include pouring, place setting, and tea parties. You will need a miniature or child-size tea set with a teapot and lid, two teacups, two saucers, a creamer, and a sugar or honey bowl. The tea set in this blog post is from Montessori Services, Festive Ware China Tea Set, item #G425.

Practical Life Pouring

Material: Teapot, lid, teacup, and saucer; a towel.

Water: Consider how your child will have access to water so she can fill up the teapot. If she does not have access to a sink (or if it is not feasible) you can have a dishpan with water pre-filled. Place the pre-filled dishpan on a low counter or tabletop, perhaps near the sponges or towels. The child then dips the teapot in the water.

Towels: A small towel, like a washcloth, is necessary for this pouring work so have a basket of towels close by. Some classrooms have all their towels rolled up on a tray or in a basket so that each time a child takes a water material out to work with, they have to also get a towel for it when it is time to clean up. Keep in mind also that when the child is done with the material, she needs to put the towel in a hamper.

Sponges: Some teachers prefer to use sponges, however, the child needs to learn how to squeeze out the sponge in a sink or tub. Also, younger children might squeeze out the sponge on the table, floor, etc., or will squeeze it out in the sink and try to get more water—this is a natural thing for them to do but it is recommended that you create a separate sponging work, have a water table, or some other water play available… You want this to be pouring work!


Have the tea set on a table pre-setup or placed in a picnic basket on the floor next to a table then set out the tea set. "This is a tea set!" Point to the teapot, "That is a called a teapot, can you say teapot? And there is the lid." Point to the teacup, "That is a called a teacup, can you say teacup?" Point to the saucer, "That is a called a saucer, can you say saucer?"

Without talking, take the lid off the teapot, stand up, tuck in your chair, take the teapot and slowly walk over to your source of water and get some water. Slowly walk back to the table and place the teapot on the table. Pour the water into the teacup. Put the teapot back down in its proper place, put the lid on it, take the teacup by the handle, then sip it. Place it back down on the saucer. Repeat until you have used all the water. (Try to spill a tiny bit of water so you have something to wipe up in your lesson!)

Stand up, tuck in your chair, get a towel, sit down—or remain standing up, and point to where you spilled the water. Then wipe up or pat the spilled water with the towel and put it on a drying rack or in a hamper. Lastly, get another towel if you are keeping the towel with the tea set.

You will probably go through a lot of towels—at the end of the day, pick out the dry clean ones! Or use a small sponge instead of a towel if you don't want to do a lot of laundries… Some classrooms have towel washing work using an old scrub board!

Now let the child have a turn!

Practical Life Place Setting

Material: Teapot, lid, two teacups, two saucers, mat optional, (no water).

Mats: Some classrooms have all their mats rolled up on a tray or in a basket so that each time a child takes material out to work with, they have to also get a mat for it. Keep in mind also that this method (of keeping the mats separate from the materials) means an extra step for the child! Many times the child will forget to go get the mat! Or they will leave it on the table and forget to put it away!

Decide which method works best for you. If you have different color mats, consider color-coding them: red for math works, yellow for language works, brown for sensorial, etc. (I chose those colors randomly—you can choose whichever colors you want.)


Have the tea set placed in a picnic basket on the floor next to a table. If you are using a mat slowly unroll it from left to right until it is all the way unrolled. Keep it placed horizontally. If the child is very young and needs practice unrolling and rolling mats, then roll the mat back up from the bottom to top and let the child have a turn.

Without talking, begin placing the tea set, one piece at a time, on the mat, from left to right, top to bottom: teapot, lid on the teapot, saucer, teacup on the saucer, etc. Then place each piece carefully, one at a time, back in the basket. Now let the child have a turn. If the child makes a mistake, just let it happen, then take another turn when they are finished!

You can also give the language of the pieces of the tea set.

Some teachers will then allow the child to pretend to have a tea party.

Below is the tea set, item #G425, from Montessori Services, and Marie used it to have a tea party with her family (see the photo gallery down below).

Two Children Tea Party:

It is more than likely two children will want to play this work together (a two-person work or material). If that is the case, the child who chooses the material (whose idea it was to play with the tea set) goes first to place the tea set on the mat, then put them back in the basket. She will then say to the second child, "Your turn." And so forth—if they get too silly or rough, it's time to put it away and do something else.

You may want to consider pairing up a young toddler with an older child age four and up, an older child who can share, take turns, and or give in to a demanding toddler! (Two toddlers might not do well together!)

If three or four children are having a tea party, an adult should play too. Direct each child (one at a time) to get an item out of the picnic basket and place it on the table. Use real tea or juice in the teapot. The youngest child goes first and the oldest child goes last (to pour). When the children are finished, place items one at a time in a dishpan or dishwasher and directed by the adult.

Language: After the child has done this work a few times, take it out and give a Three Period Lesson on the names of the pieces. First, find out which pieces the child already knows!

For example, take out the saucer and ask "What is this?" Child says, "Plate." You reply "This is a saucer. Can you say saucer?" Place it on the mat. Take out the teacup and ask, "What is this?" Child says, "Teacup." You reply, "Yes, this is called a teacup." Place it back in the box. Repeat with the remaining pieces. You will be left with the pieces the child did not know, sitting on the mat. You can then pick up the sugar bowl, for example, and say, "Is this the sugar bowl or the saucer?" Child says sugar bowl. "Yes, this is called the sugar bowl." Pick up the saucer, "Is this the saucer or the lid?" Child says, "Lid." You reply, "This is the saucer." Put down the saucer and pick up the lid, "This is the lid."

Lastly, hold up the lid and say "What is this?" Child says, "Lid." Hold up the saucer and say "What is this?" Child says, "Saucer." Hold up the sugar bowl and say, "What is this?" Child says, "Teacup." You reply, "This is the sugar bowl." Put sugar bowl down, pick up the teacup and say "This is the teacup." You are done with your language lesson. Another day, repeat the lesson! (You just gave a Three Period Lesson, by the way!)

Montessori Practical Life Kitchen Materials and Suggested Activities

Rinsing Fruit or Veggie

Materials: Set of miniature colanders, cherry tomatoes (your child's favorite fruit or veggie); kitchen towel, or face cloth. *These mini colanders are from Montessori Services, item #D350. Choose one. *I love these little colanders and so does my son! They are just his size, easy to carry, sturdy, easy to clean, and they can also be used as bowls at meal or snack time

Age: 18 months and up


Materials: Pitcher and glass; kitchen towel or face cloth. This glass pitcher is from Montessori Services, item #G274. My son loves his new glass pitcher! It is the perfect size for his hands to hold and pour, and the lid sits snugly inside. We place it on our kitchen island with a towel underneath it, and sometimes on his table.

Age: 2.5 and up


Materials: Chinese soup spoon, bowl, colander. These Chinese soup spoons are from Montessori Services item #G284. A Chinese soup spoon is the best "first spoon" for Practical Life kitchen activities. These spoons are great and I wish I got them sooner! My son uses them for his favorite soup, chicken noodles; eating yogurt and eating applesauce.

Age: 3 and up

Apple Slicing

Materials: Apple slicer, cutting board, bowl, and wet sponge or face cloth. This apple slicer is from Montessori Services, item #D318. My son loves to practice slicing apples with his new apple slicer! It's handy for older siblings to help younger siblings or Mom and Dad!

Age: 6 and up

Please note: We received these items at no cost from Montessori Services, with whom we are also affiliates. We get a small commission if you make a purchase from the links provided. Thank you!

Montessori Tea Party and Kitchen Practical Life Activities {Confessions of a Montessori Mom}