Skip to main content

Young Montessori Toddlers in the Kitchen

One of the things that makes Montessori unique is its emphasis on practical experiences for young toddlers. From the time the children start eating, they are presented with opportunities to help in the kitchen in real and practical ways. And, therefore, there are so many practical life opportunities for young Montessori toddlers in the kitchen.


This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. 


There are so many ways that even the youngest toddler can help in the kitchen. I am by no means someone who enjoys cooking/baking/generally being in the kitchen, but these ideas even work for me!

With Nora, we started offering food when she was 6-months-old at her weaning table. From that time, we have given her a glass plate, cup and silverware. This has given her the opportunity to practice the same skills she sees us doing as we eat. Nora uses a spoon. For her, it has just been a natural part of learning how to eat.

There are so many great practical life opportunities for young Montessori toddlers in the kitchen. From food preparation to clean up, toddlers can get involved at every stage.

But, as Nora started standing, climbing and walking, she has gained other opportunities in the kitchen. These have started gradually and increased with her interests, skills and ability. We haven't done everything on this list, but we will get there eventually!

Food Preparation

  • Peeling sliced bananas 
  • Pulling apple slices from cutter
  • Slicing chunks of banana (or other soft food like cheese or fruit)
  • Washing fruit
  • Spreading butter or peanut butter on toast 
  • Mixing prepared ingredients (while baking bread, muffins or cookies, for example) 
  • Pouring pre-measured ingredients (again while baking)  
  • Cracking eggs
  • Placing ingredients into a blender or mixer
  • Slicing eggs or strawberries 
  • Kneading dough 
  • Scooping batter or dough 

Food Service

  • Placing food onto plate 
  • Putting a place mat on a table
  • Bringing empty plates/cups/silver wear to table
  • Carrying plates of food to table 
  • Pouring water into cup 

Clean Up

  • Washing hands 
  • Wiping hands/face 
  • Wiping table 
  • Bringing dishes to sink
  • Wiping counters
  • Washing dishes 
  • Throwing away food or garbage 
  • Sweeping floors 
  • Putting away groceries or items used

This list is far from exhaustive -- always remember to follow your child in the kitchen and see what they are interested in. Trust their abilities and go from there! 


Tools for Young Toddlers in the Kitchen

To make these skills and tasks possible, it's important that you have the right tools for your young toddler to use. By using smaller tools, they can easily perform tasks instead of trying to accomplish them with larger less adaptable tools. Some of my recommendations include -- 

There are so many great practical life opportunities for young Montessori toddlers in the kitchen. From food preparation to clean up, toddlers can get involved at every stage.

Glass Pitcher; Ceramic Dishes; Tall Stool; Spreader Knife; Toddler flat wear; Egg Slicer; Cutting Board; Toddler Apron; Small glasses; Small pitcher; Mini Utensils

What do you do in the kitchen with your children? Do you get your baby or young toddler involved? 

Comments

Eleonora said…
Very enlightening and encouraging! Thank you for sharing your experiences.
Eleonora
Hil D said…
Way to empower your young toddler in the kitchen. I hadn't thought to get my daughter involved in some of those things but certainly will try now.
What a wonderful way to get your daughter involved in the kitchen and teach her new things. Thank you for sharing at the #Made4Kids Link Party!
Marie Mack said…
What awesome pictures! I love seeing little ones in the kitchen. Thank you so much for stopping by the Lean & Play Link Up. This post is featured on Christian Montessori Network this week!
Brenna said…
Very cool :) I am curious how old she is?
Unknown said…
hi thanks for this article. It's great to know where I should begin with my toddler. Just wondering where you were able to get the table Nora eats at and her chair? I noticed the same furniture in my son's classroom and cannot find it anywhere.
Cheers!

Popular Posts

The Ultimate Montessori Toy List -- Birth to Five -- UPDATED 2017

When you are interested in Montessori, it can be difficult to know exactly what types of products you should get for your home. Or which types of "Montessori" materials are really worth the price. There are no rules about types of products can use the name Montessori which can add to the confusion. Not to mention, every toy manufacturer slaps the word "educational" on the package for good measure!

2017 UPDATE: This post has been updated to include a variety of brands and new product finds! Just a reminder that no one child will be interested in all of this or needs all of this. These toys are just here to spark ideas and give you a feeling for some Montessori-friendly options available! 


So, with this post, I'm going to try to help with this confusion! Here's a list of Montessori-friendly toys and materials for babies, toddlers and preschoolers. 


First, let's clarify that there is no such thing as a "Montessori toy." Montessori never created to…

Which Open-Ended Toys are "Worth it?"

As a Montessori parent, I try to provide a mix of materials in our home to engage my kids! That work that will spark joy, concentration, and repetition. It's not always an easy task, as Maria Montessori said, "Life is mysterious...only the choice of life can choose the work that the child truly needs. Therefore, the teacher respects this mysterious process and knows to wait with faith." So, there does sometimes feel like there is a bit of trial and error when it comes to choosing materials that your children need. 

For us, the right balance is easier to find when I spend time deeply observing my children. Watching their interests, sitting on my hands if I have to, letting them struggle a little with things, and letting them get bored. And what I have personally found is that here at home, a combination of open ended materials and more structured work have been the right balance. Open ended toys wouldn't necessarily be found in a Montessori classroom, but they are perf…

A Montessori Approach to Purging Your Toys

Becoming a Montessori family has been life changing in so many ways, most obviously with the amount and type of materials we use in our home. Once you see why having so many toys is a problem, or when you make the decision to move towards Montessori, it can be completely overwhelming. But, taking a Montessori approach to purging your toys is possible! And, it doesn't exactly mean that you have to throw away everything you have and start over with only expensive wooden toys. It will mean taking a hard look at what you have and whether it really fits with Montessori.


One note, however, Montessori is at its core about following your child's own path and respecting your child as a whole person. So, if your child has a toy, lovey, book, or whatever that your child super loves or is super attached to, but it doesn't fit Montessori ideals, don't take it away. Follow your child, that is more Montessori than whether or not you own some specific consumer product. 
How to Purge You…