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June 28, 2022

Montessori Home: Summer Snack Boxes

Summer is upon us here and it is in full swing. And with it the size of my children's stomach has somehow doubled - just kidding! But, seriously, home for the summer somehow means that my children want nothing to do with meals and just want to eat 1,000 snacks all day long. Well, that sounds great, except for our actual food supplies and budget! So, this summer we are trying something new here to give our children access to the snacks but also limit complete free range snacking. 

(Snack box included orange {they can cut, eat whole, or juice}, mini cucumber and bell pepper, hard boiled egg, and trail mix with candy pieces.)

I was brainstorming with my friend Emily from @MadetoMontessori and decided to try a snack box this summer. We have done variations of this in the past where, the children have had access to the week's snacks and then can enjoy them until they are gone. They also have always had unlimited access to our fruit selection. 

But, with so many kids we needed still a bit more structure while providing independent access so we don't go so many snacks and have kids that are full at meals. I'm not opposed to healthy snacks so that they can follow their own rhythm when they are hungry. But, we can't just eat snacks. 

A Montessori Friendly Snack Option

So, snack box. For us, here's how it works: 

  • I fill the boxes after dinner the night before. Each box is labeled with my kids' name. (environment)
  • The kids can help me choose the snacks if they want. I shoot for a fruit, a veggie, a protein, and a treat. (limit)
  • Kids can eat anything in their box at anytime between 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. (freedom)  

This compromise between freedoms and limits seems to really be working for our family. The kids have used these for a couple weeks now and it has gone really well. We have only had one day where Gus ate all his snacks early on in the day and then was a bit hungry before dinner. Otherwise it is working really well. 

Somethings that have helped:

  • These are the boxes - I went with ones that could stack to save space in the fridge
  • We store the boxes in our kids' fridge so that we can use items that can be refrigerated 
  • I made small frozen treat "tickets" that can be added for summer treats
  • These silicone baking cups are perfect for organizing the boxes

A Note on Toddlers

I just wanted to make a quick note here on toddlers. At 2.5-years-old, Teddy really isn't ready for this kind of snacking freedom. But, some of my other toddlers would have been. I suggest really observing and trying it out if you have a toddler. For now, I put one snack at a time in Teddy's box and then he can choose it when he likes. Then I choose when to refill his box throughout the day. This way he still has some choice in the matter, but still limits that match where he is developmentally. 

Have you ever tried a snack box/basket? How do you manage freedom and limits when it comes to snacking?


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