Baan Dek

Opening and Closing Containers

Montessori Activities

How do you use this material?

An assortment of containers with lids on is in a basket or on a tray on the shelf. The child takes the collection to a table or rug. The Guide shows the child how each container is opened. Some lids simply lift off. Others unscrew, use a whole hand or just the fingers, some have latches or multi-step openings.

Lids are placed on one side of the table or rug in a column, containers on the other side. They aren’t necessarily directly across from their match.

opening and closing containers montessori

The Guide selects one container, and examines each lid until she finds the right one. With slow, precise movements, she replaces the lid, including any necessary latches, and places the closed container at the top of the work space in the middle, before moving on to the next container.

What is a child learning?

How to open and close containers. There are many closed vessels in the classroom. For instance, often polish is kept in a small closed containers, soap for dishwashing is in a squeeze bottle, and children frequently have lots of containers in their lunch. Having this material on the shelf helps a child to be successful, when she needs this skill in everyday life.

opening and closing containers montessori

What does a child not know they’re learning?

Opening and Closing Containers is a fantastic material for enticing strong concentration and repetition. At the beginning of the year, or with very young children, we might have three containers with simple lift-off lids. As abilities progress, we might have containers with multiple latches, or more containers to choose from, smaller fasteners, or even a Nesting Doll, where the development of logic is necessary.

opening and closing containers montessori

What can you do at home?

  • This is such a natural opportunity to bring Montessori into the home environment. There are probably several small boxes or bags lying around at home that can be gathered and put on a shelf for a child to explore.
  • Try small jewelry bags, with pull cords at either end to seal the top, or a teensy zipper to pull and a snap to secure.
  • What kind of containers does your child have in her lunch? Before the beginning of the school year, put them out on the shelf empty so she can practice.

Written by:

Charlotte Wood

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