open and close containers

This practical life activity is designed for 3-6-year-old children to help them learn how to open and close containers of different shapes, sizes, and types

At the age of 2-3 years, children develop their hands and fingers grip. They can manipulate small objects with ease, turn the pages of books, build towers of blocks, and unzip large zippers

This ability to coordinate their wrists, fingers, and palms allows them to open and close jars and lids, screw and unscrew nuts and bolts, water plants, flip pages of the book, and much more. And the need to teach these activities in the right manner is very important. Let us understand the importance of such activities.

Why are Opening and Closing Containers Important?

Opening and closing containers is a fun activity for children, and we often see them choosing this activity during observations. This activity helps them in 

  1. Developing problem-solving skills, as some boxes are quite tricky to close, especially boxes with flaps. 
  2. Builds memory and concentration as they learn to identify different size lids and which lid fits which box. This helps develop IQ. 
  3. Developing hand-finger muscles and dexterity by promoting hand-eye coordination.
  4. Boosts independence, as it reduces dependency on parents to perform daily household chores.
  5. Develop fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, focus, and visual discrimination.

 Material Required to Perform the Open and Close Containers Activity:

Home is the best place to find the containers needed for this activity. 

  • Four to six containers of various sizes and types with corresponding lids
  • A basket/ tray to keep the containers


Make sure the selected containers:

  • Are safe, clean, and working properly
  • Have different closures based on the child’s developmental stage 
  • Choose containers that are easy for small hands to hold. 

Here is the List of Containers that are Readily Available at Home

  • tins 
  • snap lock containers
  • spice jars
  • cosmetic jars
  • containers with flip-top lids
  • decorative jars
  • wooden boxes
  • pencil boxes
  • lunch boxes 
  • water bottles

How is the Opening and Closing Boxes Activity Presented?

This activity is usually presented with three or four different boxes on a tray. 

  1. Arrange each container on the table in ascending order of size, with the largest on the left and the smallest on the right.
  2. Hold the left container at its base with one hand and unscrew its lid with your fingers with the other hand. Gently place the lid on its front.
  3. Take off the first lid on the box on the left, moving along each box to the last box to open on the right. 
  4. All the containers are now open.
  5. Now, place the lids back, beginning with the left container.
  6. Continue to replace the lids left to right. Each time, hold the container at its base and use the opposite fingers to replace the top. 
  7. All the containers are now closed.
  8. Invite the child to repeat the process.

Watch the video along with the child and let them play with containers to enhance their motor skills.

Looking for More Montessori Activities?

Here is a list of some more practical life activities that help children to carry out daily household chores independently. Click on each link to learn more about them.

For more practical life lessons, visit:

Video created by: Strykun Olena


  • English
  • Practical Life
  • primary