Home » Kids, Montessori » Opening and closing objects

Opening and closing objects

jarsOur son is now 28 months old. Please note: I use the terms “he” and “him” in this exercise because my child is a boy and I find using “he/she” and “him/her” to be clunky.

This is an easy-to-do practical life exercise that uses everyday household objects. It is modified from Teach Me to Do It Myself: Montessori Activities for You and Your Child.

Materials needed

  • 4 or more small bottles, boxes or jars with different methods of opening (for example, spice jars, jewelry boxes, etc.)
  • Basket


    1. Fill the basket with the bottles, boxes or jars you have selected, making sure their lids are all closed. (For the rest of this exercise, I’ll refer to the bottles, boxes or jars simply as “objects.”)
    2. With your child seated to the left of you (or to the right if he is left-handed), slowly open the objects, being careful to demonstrate the opening action.

Montessori Monday

  1. As you open the objects, place the objects and lids in two neat rows with the lids in front of the objects, if the lids are removable, working from left to right.
  2. Working from left to right again, begin closing the objects and demonstrating the closing action. For the objects with removable lids, select a lid from the row of lids and go along the row of objects from left to right to find the object that matches the lid.
  3. When you have replaced all the lids, invite your child to try opening the objects.
  4. When your child has opened all the objects, invite him to try closing them.
  5. When your child is finished with the exercise, ask him to return everything to the basket.

Safety note: Let your child know that he can open the objects in the basket, but not other objects unless you have granted permission.

Our experience

hermetic jarWe first introduced our son to this exercise more than six months ago, but he’s only really been working at it for the last couple of months. He just started being able to unscrew and screw the lids a couple of weeks ago and he still has a little trouble with the hermetic jar.

When we did the exercise this morning, he got into it right away and spent several minutes opening and closing the jars. He also returned to the exercise later in the day, which is always a sign of a successful activity.


  1. Use a range of objects of different sizes with the same opening and closing mechanism.
  2. Use large nuts and bolts or nuts and bolts toys such as Ryan’s Room Creative Big Nuts And Bolts or Plan Toy Nuts and Bolts to demonstrate the turning action. If you use nuts and bolts that are small enough to fit in a child’s mouth, be sure to supervise this activity closely as they could pose a choking hazard.
  3. Use assorted locks and keys and demonstrate how they are used. If you use locks and keys, be sure to emphasize the danger of locking someone in a room.

What other toddler activities related to opening and closing objects can you think of?

Disclosure: This post contains an affiliate link. Thanks for supporting Our Natural Journey at no cost to you. For more information, please read my disclosure policy.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

4 Responses to Opening and closing objects

  1. Great ideas, Eryn! I love the way open and close activities can be adapted for different themes and ability levels. Thanks so much for linking up with Montessori Monday. I featured your post at the Living Montessori Now Facebook page and added your post link to my Open and Close post at http://livingmontessorinow.com/2011/08/22/montessori-monday-open-and-close/.

  2. I love these ideas, and love even more that I can source the materials for this activity around my house without having to spend additional funds! I’m sure my 2yo would love it, too – he has a board with six different latches that he adores! Thank you so much for sharing!

    • Yes, those are the best kinds of activities, aren’t they? I just wish I hadn’t tossed all my jewelry boxes with our last move. Oh, well. My son has a latches board, too, that he also loves.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>