Select Page


  • Develop independence in care of self
  • Strengthening and refinement of movements of the hands


  • 16 months and up

Young children enjoy learning to care for themselves and their environment. Dr. Montessori described these activities as Practical Life activities and you will find them in all Montessori classrooms from birth through high school.

When children learn to take care of themselves and their environment, they experience inner pride and confidence. This supports their need to do for themself independently and serves their intellectual, physical, and language development.

Learning to clean shoes is a fun activity for young children. As a parent, you can introduce this activity and keep it available to your child in a space that makes sense: near your entry; on a cleaning supply shelf; or even in your broom closet. Once you show your child how to use this activity, keep the set intact (don’t let the pieces migrate around the house), remind your child of the true purpose if they use the tools for other activities, and remove the activity if your child is not able to use it safely.


  1. Trace the shoe silhouette template on the adhesive vinyl with the marker.
  2. Cut out the Shoe silhouette and set aside.
  3. Wipe the tray surface with a clean dry towel.
  4. Remove the backing of the cut shoe shape.
  5. Place the shoe shape in the center of the tray so that the length of the shoe shape is parallel with the handle sides of the tray.
  6. Press the shoe shape with your hands and smooth out any bubbles.
  7. Place the brush dish on the upper left side of the tray.
  8. Place the brush in the brush dish.
  1. As with all Practical Life activities, show your child the tools you will need, what they are called, and how to hold them.
  2. Remind your child that you will show them how to do the activity and then they will have a turn.
  3. To clean shoes, place one shoe on the shoe shape and one shoe to the left of you on the floor.
  4. Place one hand in the shoe, and hold the brush with the other.
  5. Gently brush the shoe.
  6. Turn the shoe side to side so your child can see that you are looking for dirt.
  7. Place the brush back in the dish.
  8. Place the shoe next to the one on the floor.
  9. Pick up the other shoe and place it on the tray.
  10. Invite your child to have a turn!

When your child is done, they can see what other shoes are around the house to clean. This activity combined with the hunt of finding shoes can make this activity last a long time. Once your child understands the activity, you can say things like…”I think I remember a pair of brown shoes in your dad’s closet…” By doing this you are supporting your child’s awareness of their environment, need to engage socially and genuinely, as well as your child’s language development. Try using different adjectives to describe shoes they may find. Scan