A basic, useful, and purposeful way of living.
The Exercises of Practical Life are just that — purposeful activities of everyday living: those essential simple ordinary tasks that we do as adults to prepare, maintain, restore, and beautify our environments, such as washing, sweeping, cooking, cleaning and so forth. For the child, these exercises serve a more personal, developmental function. Adults perform the work of practical life for the outer result; making the floor clean, having a meal ready, or mending a sock.
The utility derived by the adult in doing these acts is just what attracts the child. Intrinsically the child knows the work is purposeful, but for the child it fulfills a different need – an inner need.