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Shoe Polishing

Sweet Pea is 4 years old.

From: I first read about shoe polishing as a traditional  Montessori activity in Maja Pitamic’s excellent book Teach Me To Do It Myself.



  • Scrape a small amount (1 or 2 tsp) of polish into the little bowl.

  • Show your tot how to put a bit of polish onto the cloth.

  • Demonstrate rubbing the polish on the shoe.
  • Let your tot try.
  • When the polish has been applied to the entire shoe, show your tot how to use the other cloth to buff it off and then let him do it on his own.  Your tot should continue buffing until the shoe no longer feels greasy.

  • Make sure your tot washes his hands after polishing the shoes.

Observations: Sweet Pea adores polishing and cleaning, so I was not surprised that she loved polishing shoes.  She polished 2 pairs before she tired of this activity, and then asked to do it again the next day.


Sweet Pea worked so intently on this.  I love when I find an activity that is so engrossing for her.  If only I found all household chores as interesting as she does!


When her shoes were finished she was so proud of them!  She held them up so I could take a picture of her “shiny clean shoes”.

I would recommend this activity for older preschoolers.

Notes from the Trenches:

  • All shoe polish says “Keep out of reach of children”.  This activity should be closely supervised.
  • When I first wanted to try this activity, I started with real shoe polish.  As soon as I started to scrap it out of the container, I realized that Sweet Pea would have it all over everything and started searching for a less messy option.

  • I found Sweet Pea always used the entire amount of polish on the one shoe that she was polishing.  It is very important that you put a small amount of polish in a little bowl to prevent your tot from using the entire container on one shoe.  Only give out a little bit at a time!

Rating: 3 Stars * (Fun, Easy, Independent)



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