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Using a Funnel

Sweet Pea is 36 months old.

From: I spotted a funnel in my junk drawer and remembered that I had seen “Using a Funnel” on a list of practical life Montessori activities a while ago.


  • Funnel.
  • Sink.
  • A sturdy chair or step stool.  (If money is no object, then perhaps this beautiful Learning Tower.)
  • Measuring cup or small pitcher.
  • Empty water bottle.
  • Bib (optional but recommended).


  • Put the bib on your tot and gather the rest of your materials near the sink.
  • Turn the water on low and adjust the temperature to lukewarm.
  • Help your child stand securely on the chair or step stool at the sink.
  • Demonstrate setting the narrow end of the funnel into the top of the water bottle.
  • Show your tot how to fill up the  measuring cup by holding it under the running water until it is about halfway filled.
  • Use your non-dominate hand to hold both the funnel and the top of the bottle, while you slowly use your dominant hand to pour the water into the top of the funnel.
  • Give your tot the measuring cup and let them try.

Observations: Sweet Pea loves anything involving water so she enjoyed this, although she hasn’t asked about it again.  (Unlike say, the Rainbow Toast, which she still brings up often in morning.)  She stood at the sink and practiced filling the cup, pouring it into the funnel and dumping the water back out of the bottle many times.

She did have trouble pouring the water into the funnel at first, and sometimes knocked over the water bottle, but quickly improved.

This was a good practical life activity and I would recommend it for older tots.   However, it probably requires too much dexterity for younger tots and instead I would suggest just letting your tot Play at the Sink.

Notes from the Trenches: Your child will be playing with water so supervision is critical.  Your tot could fall, drown, get burned, etc, etc.

I unwisely set this up at Sweet Pea’s tot school table first.  I carefully showed Sweet Pea how to pour the water into the funnel and then sat across from her to take pictures.  This is the only picture I was able to get before Sweet Pea begin pouring water all over everything.  Ooops.  Sometimes I forget she’s only 3.  We cleaned up and I quickly moved the activity to the sink.

Rating: 4 Stars * (Fun, Easy, Independent for older tots, Frugal)

Carnivals: This post is linked at One Hook Wonder’s weekly Montessori Monday and Mommy Moment’s  Montessori Moment.


6 comments to Using a Funnel

  • Cute pictures! We love playing with small funnel in the bath. I got a set for the sand art that included 3 small plastic bottles and a funnel, and it was one of the best $1 purchases because it can be played with over and over again.

  • It’s funny, because I just got out the funnel for Bear this week too. Except I started her with rice through the funnel. She goes to it EVERY day!

  • Great write up. I have been using a similar star system for rating books I am reading of late. I like the idea of using it for activities. It would really help me decide which ones to “keep” as I work with my two, soon to be be three, children.

    • admin

      I really struggle with my rating system. I like the concept of it, but sometimes there are activities that get lower scores than I think they deserve. I sort of want to add an extra star for “Tilt” if I think something is super good. The Clay Bead Necklace for example got 1 star. I would definitely recommend having your tot make one, but it isn’t frugal and takes a lot of work.

  • Thanks for linking up to Montessori Monday! My 4-year-old loves pouring through a funnel as well. So much fun. 🙂

  • Your daughter seems really absorbed with this activity. I have to say I really enjoy reading your header. Thanks for sharing.

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