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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.


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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
Unknown 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.
Unknown said…
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!
Unknown 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?
Rosalina said…
Really nice post
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!

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