A key theme in the world of Montessori is having the environment prepared in a way which encourages children to be independent. Along that line is also the idea that kids should learn how to "work" as they enjoy work. With these two things in mind I set up our house and daily activities for the kids.
At 3 and 5 both of my kids love water play and are familiar with various types of water-related work. In the past they have enjoyed washing dishes together from time to time. Recently, though, there has been a surprising change.
Since returning from the States last week Mega has initiated whine the dishes at some point each day. While I appreciate the help (Dishes are one of my least favorite chores) I'm not a huge fan of the wet mess it causes! We have a jointed mat on the floor by the sink which isn't the easiest to clean up so Mega needs help wiping up the excess water when she is done. She also has been known to not get everything as clean as we would like... By then again she is only 3.
What I like is that she sees dishes in the sink, realizes they need to get clean, takes the initiative to clean them and then follows through until they are all washed. It is also really cute to watch :-)