This week Layla has been very interested in learning new practical life activities. I have learned a few things along the way. The first thing I learned was, whatever amount of water/milk/etc. I would give her access to, I half it...and maybe even half it again! It's easier to add more water to a pail, watering can, etc. then to have a big spill. Of course, there will be spills and your child can clean them up, but why not add to their chance of success? The second thing I learned is to have lots of towels available. The third is to really break down each step of a task in your head before demonstrating it.
I found a plant at IKEA that requires a lot of water, so I thought that would be a good choice. Layla now can water it every day. I still keep it out of her reach for now as she is still learning how to touch it gently and keep fingers out of the dirt. She points at it every morning, I bring it down, put a little water in the can and she waters it. The watering can is from IKEA as well. I made sure to emphasize using two hands to hold the can-one to hold the handle and one under the spout.
The next activity I might show her is dusting the leaves.
If you have a lot of plants in your home, that maybe don't need watering every day...you can put a chopstick or skewer in the plant when it needs to be watered. That can be the signal to your child that it is okay to water it. The chopstick can be taken out and returned to a designated spot (like a basket or can) once the plant is watered. This gives the child independence and responsibility.
Another activity I introduced is table washing. I cut a sponge into quarters and put the smallest amount of warm water in her bucket. I demonstrated how to wring the sponge over the bucket and how to wash the table. This activity also required a towel to wipe up spills. The next step would be to use soap.
The last activity this week was pouring milk into her cereal bowl. My mom picked up the perfect sized pitcher when she was at the AMS Conference in Denver. I made sure I demonstrated how to use both hands to pour. Now Layla is doing this daily!