Practical Life Series #2 - How to Carry a Mat

We are starting the activities now in this practical life series. Activity number 1 is super simple but has a direct and indirect purpose. The direct purpose of this activity is as it to carry a mat. But, the indirect purpose of this activity is to teach voluntary movements and how to follow directions for when the activities get a little more complicated.

We used a yoga mat for this exercise. Let's begin. 

When starting this activity get down to the same level as your child. Kneel on the floor with a Yoga mat or similar stretched out in front of you. Tell your child to come and sit on the other end of the mat and watch what you do. We like to demonstrate the activity without words first that way the child is only focused on what you are doing and now what you are saying. 

After showing them without words what you are doing, go ahead and tell them now that you are going to explain to them how to roll, lift, set down and unroll the mat. 

Rolling the mat. 

1. Place both hands on the end closest to you

2. With your fingers on top and your thumbs underneath, lift the end closest to you and form the initial roll 

3. Show your child how to roll the mat by alternating each hand in the rolling motion. 

Lifting the mat

1. With the mat lying parallel to the floor place your right hand on the upper half of the mat grasping it like a baseball bat or broom. 

2. Place your left hand on the other half of the mat grasping it the same way. 

3. Rotate the mat perpendicular to the floor. 

4. Stand up from your knees one leg at a time while holding the mat perpendicular to the floor. 

5. Bring the mat close to your body for support. 

6. Walk to a predetermined spot to set the mat down. 

Setting the mat down

1. Setting the mat down is the reverse order of lifting the mat. Be sure to emphasize stability when going back down to your knees as you want the child to learn how to eventually do this with heavier and more fragile object. 

Unrolling the mat

1. Unrolling the mat should be just as orchestrated as rolling the mat. Make it methodical and step based so your child can learn the proper handling of things. Follow "rolling the mat" in reverse order. 


That is it, while it may seem overly simple to you as an adult, to your toddler this is not a mundane task. Practice patience and work on your teaching style while helping your child learn the basics of this task we take for granted every day.