no sippy cup in montessori

Montessori in Real Life: No sippy cups


It has been a while since I’ve had a Montessori post, so I wanted to discuss one that comes with a bit of confusion. No sippy cups.

no sippy cup in montessori
From the breast to the sippy cup. Young toddlers can definitely drink from an open cup. Just make it their size (for their small hands) and an appropriate amount.

Montessori ideals and philosophy is over 100 years old. It is tried and trued. While technology has advanced, the fact is, a 15 month old today, should be similar to a 15 month old 100 years ago. Instead, we often see 15 month olds who can unlock iphones and find apps to play. While parents post these videos on youtube with excitement over how advanced their child is, we have to wonder… at what cost? 

What are children NOT doing today that they were doing 100 years ago because of so much technology? Yes, technology can be useful, but there are a few things that kids are not doing these days… perhaps, we can be honest for a minute and ask our selves, what it is our kids could do more of, if we let them.

Practical Life in Montessori

Montessori focuses on:

  • sensorial learning
  • culture
  • language
  • arithmetic
  • practical life

Yes, while there are many schools which focus on reading and writing, often we lose out on the practical skills. My 4 year old boy LOVES peeling carrots and shopping bananas. He and my daughter (age 6) can make chapati dough on their own AND make perfectly small roti! This comes with a lot of practice on fine motor skills before they were given a pencil (or crayon).

The various areas of practical life include:

Using a pincer grasp to pick things up. Being able to pour liquid from a ceramic jug into a real glass. Yes, real glass. Children practice with real items. They will practice cutting, washing, polishing brass, mopping the floor and more.  Children love to imitate adults, so instead of having them practice with apps, they imitate adults washing windows.

In Montessori kids do work. Their lessons are practical.

These helps with fine motor and gross motor skills. They learn how to do things in a sequence, so their attention is important. When they learn sequence they are preparing for logical thinking and math. Plus, these fine motor skills are refined and indirectly it helps with writing.

So, for a Montessori child, there’s no reason for a sippy cup.

Kids can use an open cup. Really, they can. From the breast to an open cup, it can happen. Start with a small cup, the size of a shot glass (it doesn’t have to be the one that reminds you of Spring Break or Mardi Gras), and fill it half way with the liquid. The child will learn to drink from it (really!) and if they spill they are learning. Simply, wipe it up and try again. In fact, at 15 months old they can help wipe up. Not because they “have” to, but because kids love to help.


Additional Practical Life Activities for Toddlers

  • Have a home “coat” rack that is their size
  • Peeling mandarin oranges (or other ‘loose’ skin citrus)
  • Filling water from a water dispenser
  • Unloading laundry from the dryer
  • Sorting laundry (colors/whites)
  • Cleaning windows (using a mix of vinegar and water, a squeegie and a cloth wipe)
  • Making lemon water using a citrus fruit juicer
  • Using tweezers to pick the seeds off of a sunflower
  • Grinding spices with mortar and pestle

Now in being practical, most Montessori families will use a covered cup of some sort in the car, but otherwise it is truly possible to not use a sippy cup for a toddler. Really!

What are some things you’ve done with your child that may be Montessori inspired?

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS


  1. I LOVE this post! Oddly enough, I published a similar post on my own blog today! ha ha While I’ve not gotten “brave” enough yet to have my daughter drink from a regular cup (I have some OCD and mess issues I’m slowly getting better with), my 2 year old has enjoyed helping me with chores for as long as she’s been able to. She’s been helping me load laundry since she’s been able to walk, it seems like, and likes helping me sweep with the broom as well. I’ve recently started letting her help me with washing dishes and baking. She’s getting a lot better about helping me pick up her toys too.

  2. I’m going to have to share this post with my best friend. She just had a baby and I’m sure she’d like to see some of the activities that you have listed on here. Great blog!

    1. I think marketing and seeing them everywhere makes us believe they are necessary. At some points kids have to learn to use a cup and not spill. You don’t have to use glass or anything big… but a small cup with an ounice of water really can’t do damage :)

  3. My son had a sippy cup for a little while because he was weened from the bottle at a year old. Yes he chose not to use a bottle on his own.

  4. Interesting concept. My brothers went a Montessori preschool/Kindergarten. Momtessori is great, but isn’t for everyone. I agree, we need to get back to basic with our kids. As a mother of two, I try to do my best, and sometimes my kids drink out of open cups, which means my 22 month old like to spill it all over the place on purpose. :)

  5. I used sipping cups with all my kids. Most toddlers are still clumsy and spill their drink. However, if you skip the sippy cup start with small amounts of water. I don’t think kids should have to stay behind bc their parents want to use soppy cups.

  6. I gave my daughter an adorable small steel open cup from when I was little. She does great drinking from it. We use sippy cups for milk when we are out.

  7. We used both cups with our kids. A regular cup when they were sitting down for a meal, and a spill-proof sippy cup for when they were moving around or traveling outside of the house.

  8. We did pacifiers til 7 months, then took them away completely. My kids were on a bottle til like 14 months but used a sippy between 10 – 12 months, they just wanted bottle til we threw them away. Sippys are fine, just find the right one for your child. We did however teach by age 2 to drink from dixie cups – open cups.

  9. Little ones really do love to help. My 14 month old just started helping his big sister put away toys. Not because I ever told him to but because putting toys away in a basket is super fun for him!

  10. My babe is 5 months and we plan to skip sippy cups altogether. Dad and I drink from a HydroFlask 99% of the time (water only). Would getting her one when she’s a bit older defeat the ‘no sippy cup?’


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *