Squeezing an Orange Montessori practical life activity is a simple beginning food preparation activity that will help your child develop independence in the kitchen.
Squeezing an orange is also a great way to strengthen the hands and develop the fine motor muscles to prepare for writing. Another great way to prepare the hand for writing is learning to sew.
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Squeezing an Orange Montessori Practical Life Activity
Practical life learning activities like this make toddlers feel like they are making a contribution at home, give preschool aged kids a boost to their self-esteem, and help elementary aged kids gain confidence in the kitchen.
Squeezing an Orange Montessori Practical Life Activity: Materials
- Kids Apron or designated shirt
- Montessori Tray (optional-used to present the materials as shown in the photo at the top of the page)
- Orange (We harvested oranges from the orange trees in our garden. Use garden or farm to table activities to extend the activity and contribute to your child’s food education. Another fun option would be to pick them up at your local farmers market before offering the activity.)
- Plate (or cutting Board — use if older child is doing the activity and cutting the orange)
- Kid’s kitchen knife (optional: for kids 5 years old and up to use under adult supervision to cut the orange)
- Citrus juicer reamer with pour spout, citrus juicer with lid, or manual citrus juicer and juice pitcher.
- 8 oz canning jar or other small glass (we like to use canning jars as glasses for little hands and for food storage.)
- Montessori Toddler Table [optional]
How to Squeeze an Orange
You will need to demonstrate how to do this activity the first time that you offer it. Complete the steps listed below in the exact way that you would like your child to complete the activity from start to finish.
Make sure you are deliberate in your actions. Everything proceeds from top to bottom and left to right to prepare the child to learn to read. The presentation will vary slightly based on the age of your child. (See below)
Related: 15 Ways to Raise a Helper
Invite Child to Squeeze an Orange
Have your child sit in their toddler seat at their toddler table (if you have one) to do the activity. If you have never done this activity present it by showing your child how to do it first. (See above)
1. Put on apron or shirt. It doesn’t matter what you use, it only matters that it acts as a signal that it is time to work.
2. Children aged 5 and up can be invited to cut the orange in half on a cutting board with adult supervision. In this case, you can present the activity with an orange on top of the cutting board with a kids knife on the left of the orange. Place the citrus juicer on the right of the cutting board with a sponge and cup below it.
3. For children under 5 years old present the activity with a cut orange on a plate as shown in the photos above. They can then start the activity with squeezing an orange.
4. Juice the orange one half at a time. Have the child cup half of the orange in one hand, grab the juicer with the other hand to stabilize it, center the orange over the citrus juicer and press down firmly while turning. (top right photo above) Invite them to stand up in order to apply more pressure if desired. Continue until there is no more juice left in the half of orange. (You can also have your child try juicing with one hand on top of the other to see which way is easier for them.)
5. Pour juice into the cup after you are finished juicing each half of orange. (bottom right photo above) This gives children more opportunity to practice pouring. Another practical life activity that kids need to learn and master. Offering this flower arranging Montessori practical life activity and being in charge of watering a fairy garden are other great opportunities to practice pouring.
Related: Parenting Tips
Squeezing an Orange Montessori Practical Life Activity: Clean Up
1. Remove the cup of orange juice from the table for the moment and have your child help you clean up. When finished teach them to put their apron or shirt away to signal that their work is complete. Completing the “work cycle” by doing practical life activities in the same order will help your child build healthy work habits.
2. After clean up, allow your child to drink the cup of orange juice that they squeezed so they can enjoy the fruits of their labor. 🙂
Squeezing an orange Montessori practical life activity is an easy first exercise in at home food preparation for kids. You may also like to try cutting a banana. Another home life activity that will help your children develop independence in the kitchen.
Practical life learning activities like squeezing an orange and cutting a banana help toddlers develop self-sufficiency in the kitchen, make preschoolers and kindergarteners feel like they are making a contribution at home, and help elementary aged kids build confidence and skills.
Other Practical Home Life activities to try:
- Cutting a Banana Montessori Practical Life Activity
- Coin Sorting: A Montessori Sensorial Activity
- Flower Arranging: A Montessori Practical Life Activity
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Nell has over 20 years of experience working with children and is the founder of Rhythms of Play. She believes in the wonder of childhood, the power of the imagination, learning through play, and getting outside in all seasons! Learn more…