A Montessori Kitchen (3)

We’re back in the kitchen! 5 more things that you and your toddler can do together while preparing meals.

Bean’s age: 22 months

1. Food Name & Feel 

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This peach is almost ripe.

We have a basket that is always filled with fruit and vegetables. When mom has to do something that requires hot oil or boiling water, Bean stays occupied by feeling the textures and smelling whatever is inside the basket. Lay out a clean cloth and place an assortment of fruits and vegetables. Bonus : get them to name them!

2. Peeling Onions

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Onions are complex; that’s why they have layers.

As with garlic, Bean loves peeling the dry, crackling skin off onions. While she hasn’t tried cutting them yet – the tears that arrive when she stands next to me have made her reluctant to any cutting of onions – she is always eager to peel. Removes one step for mom!

3. Preparing Chicken Fillets

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Mashed chicken, here we go!

Hammers and toddlers go so well together. After placing a layer of cling film over our cutting board, Bean enjoyed smashing the chicken almost flat. She needed a little guidance as to how vigorously she should hit it, and it is a tangible application of the hammer and block toy she enjoys playing with.

4. Cracking Eggs

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Humpty dumpty, is that you?

One of Bean’s favorite activities is to crack eggs open. After watching mom and dad do it, she quickly learned to firmly tap the egg on a hard edge before prying it open at the crack. There is some fishing out of egg-shell involved, but practice makes perfect!

5. Whisking Eggs

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Whisk, whisk

One of the tools in Bean’s kitchen arsenal is her mini whisk, which she has used for everything from mixing cake batter to preparing omelets. A deep, metal bowl provides stability and avoids any spillage. An easy and fun way for the kiddo to help out and manage hand-eye coordination.

A Montessori Kitchen (2)

As Bean gets older, she wants to imitate mom and dad more in the kitchen. We put together her own set of toddler-sized and friendly tools, in addition to the vegetable knife and egg slicer, to let her explore more skills in the kitchen.

Bean’s age: 21 months

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Toddler kitchen arsenal

Clockwise, from left: Silicon mini whisk, small vegetable peeler, mini ‘retro’ colander with handles, ceramic mortar and pestle, egg slicer / cutter, vegetable cutter with wide handle.

1. Vegetable Peeler (with wide handle)

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Everyday I’m peelin’

The wide handle is perfect for a toddler’s hand to grip, and it took a few tries before Bean realized which direction to pull away from. Carrots are an ideal vegetable to start with as they are easier to hold onto.

2. Removing Mushroom Stems

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One mushroom down, two more to go…

No tools required! Pulling the stems off mushrooms.

3. Mini Colander with Handles

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Blueberries for my yoghurt!

This colander is a dream. We’ve been showing Bean how to rinse her own small fruits (blueberries, strawberries or grapes) for breakfast or her midday snack. The handles are just the right distance apart for small hands (and arms!).

4. Scooping Yoghurt

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The Montessori scoop and transfer with marbles / nuts translates well to scooping yoghurt. We use a small spoon – expect a mess at the beginning!

A Montessori Kitchen (1)

The kitchen! A wonderland of sharp knives, hot ovens and drawers, drawers, drawers. Not to mention the laser-like precision of Bean’s finger into the pot of bubbling soup. Luckily, there are relatively easy ways to avoid kitchen mishaps – and they involve including kiddo in the meal prep. Here are 3 ways that have (so far) rendered Bean’s attempts to help…helpful!

Bean’s age: 21 months

1. The Vegetable “Knife”

This compact kitchen tool, meant to crinkle-cut hard vegetables, has the perfect, non-slip grip for small hands, and a dulled edge. We started with softer fruit (bananas, strawberries and avocado) before slowly working towards harder ones.

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Maximum concentration…
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Success!

2. Peeling Eggs

A great exercise in patience and motor skills. After the hard-boiled eggs have been cooled down in ice water, the shells almost slide off. Direct the removed shells into a discard bowl to encourage tidiness.

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Peel, peel, peel
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One down, one to go.

3. The Egg-Cutter

Also known as an egg slicer, this handy tool can take food preparation one step further. The eggs from activity number 2 made their way into our egg slicer and Bean was extremely proud of the results.

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Cutting the egg!
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Ready to be added to salad.

4. Jam and Toast

We used the blunt kid’s knife from IKEA to encourage Bean to make her own breakfast. Straight-forward, though prepare for some mess!

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Into the jam pot…
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…and onto the slice of toast