Thank you to this tiny blue house for introducing me to the free photo topper website canva.com. I’m loving it!
Here are some photos of how we are trying to give M independence in the kitchen. He is 2 now and he is such a phenomenal helper!
M has his own small table and chair. He often eats with us at the dining room table, but he eats snacks here and does lots of pouring and chopping here. He has a basil plant that he likes to spray with a mister on the table as well.
I have filled out this shelf a bit more to include all of the things that M needs to help set his own place at the table, pour water, scrub and chop fruits and veggies, arrange flowers and clean up spills. I took out two links of the regular sized stiffer and now it is the perfect size for M. Thank you Molly Pepper for this great idea!
After using a $2 apron from Lowes for several months, I finally bought M an apron from Montessori Services. It was a good investment of $17. He wears it when he helps with the dishes and with food preparation.
I cleared out the bottom shelf of the fridge door and placed hummus with a spreader and crackers in a container, milk, a pitcher of water and a cup of very watered-down juice. M can use the glasses from the kitchen shelf to pour water of milk. There is usually a spill at this stage in the game, but it’s ok since we have the towels and sponge already ready to go. I try to keep only a very small amount of water and milk in the vessels because M is too young to understand when to stop pouring.
Here are some other prepared snack options for M to choose from the bottom shelf of the fridge.
And finally, where would we be without this item? It gets daily use and I am so happy we took the plunge on this purchase. Yes, my kitchen is yellow with turquoise cabinets. The truth comes out.
Here is another post about M in the kitchen as it is truly his favorite place in the house. Here he is helping me roll out cookie dough. His favorite part of the cookie experience was certainly the rolling pin. This brought on some serious concentration from a very active and quick-to-move-on little boy. M helped with every step, but this step allowed for more independence than others. As you can see M is using the beloved learning tower. A friend recently asked me if this purchase was worth it and while M does at times stand on a chair for kitchen activities, I feel much calmer when he is using the learning tower since he cannot fall over as easily. So, yes, the learning tower is worth it as long as there is time for you and your child to hang out in the kitchen together. I got this learning tower on amazon for a pretty good deal considering some of them cost $300.00. I am happy with it overall.
Here he is again in the learning tower, but this time doing dishes. This activity has been great for both of us. M loves it and I clean the kitchen and do laundry while he is occupied. Score! I place a bath towel underneath the learning tower to catch all of the inevitable spills that occur during this activity. The time I gain for getting things done makes a quick wipe of the floor totally worth it. M is wearing a very inexpensive apron from Lowe’s Hardware. There are lots of lovely toddler apron tutorials on the web, but for $3, this one does the job very well.
It has been quite a long time since my last post! I guess that’s what happens when you start back to your teaching job and start major construction on your home all at the same time. Despite our many transitions, we have still had time to have fun in the kitchen (M’s number one choice of location). Here are a few fun ideas for your ready-and-willing, toddler sous chefs. Above you see M peeling pre-sliced banana rounds. This is great for fine motor and builds up confidence and independence too!
Works that we set up for our children will not be done perfectly and they should not be done perfectly for that matter! Maria Montessori was adamant that children should receive brief lessons with minimal language as long lessons and lots of language distract children from truly watching what is to be done with the work. Once a child has received a lesson, she is free to interact with the material and explore it. A child should only be stopped if her safety, the safety of another or the safety of the material is in question. These aspects of the Montessori philosophy sound so wonderful in theory, but I’ve found it difficult to let the exploration unfold at times. Continue reading