Locks and Keys

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Locks and Keys
Practical Life - Fine Motor Skills
Locks 3.jpg
Materials3 padlocks

The purpose of this activity is to teach the child to open a lock with a key.


  1. Take the work to a table or mat. If at a table, unroll a table mat.
    Locks 1.jpg
  2. Arrange the locks on the mat under the basket.
    Locks 2.jpg
  3. Take the first lock and select one of the keys from the basket. See if the key works with the lock. If it does, unlock the lock and leave the key in place. Set the lock back in its spot on the mat.
    Locks 3.jpg
  4. Continue until all of the locks have been matched with their keys and unlocked.
    Locks 4.jpg

Points of Interest

  • opening and closing the locks or latches

Control of Error

  • Every lock has a key, and there is only one key for every lock.

Variations and Extensions


  • Early in the year, the work could be set out with just one lock and one key.
  • Different sizes of padlocks could be used.
  • The locks and keys could have stickers or paint showing which key goes with which lock.
  • The locks could be holding something shut.
  • Let a child who has had practice with this work unlock the door to the classroom or supply closet with a teacher.


  • A similar activity could be done with a combination lock. The child must already be familiar with numerals and the difference between left and right (clockwise and counterclockwise). The combination could be written on a slip of paper and taped to the tray.

Combination lock.JPG