Over the last few months we’ve done a bit of moving and shaking at home. Our house layout wasn’t serving us anymore so we moved the playroom and with it the kids’ kitchen. However that didn’t really work either so their Montessori kitchen space has migrated back into our kitchen BUT I’ve made some changes to how it’s used.
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A Simple Montessori Kitchen
Firstly I scaled their available equipment all the way back, they no longer have everything displayed all at once. We used to have too much choice, their utensils were all necessary for dishes the kids made but they didn’t need them all on the same day. Frequently they’d choose to make one thing then suddenly decide that grating cheese or mixing eggs was more fun. Most of their utensils are now in a jar where they provide less temptation.
Secondly I’ve become a bit more artificial in how I present their choices for food prep. I don’t have the healthiest relationship to food and so I strived to be completely neutral when it came to my kids meal choices and even when they decided to eat, letting their appetite dictate when, what and how much they ate.
Well, that was a bad plan. Constant access to snacks means constant snacking! This wasn’t helped by the fact that Alfie is a fussy eater and generally prefers cold snack foods to cooked meals. My laid back snack attitude was playing havoc with our meal schedule and the kids were getting hangry! I’m still neutral to their choices but I provide more structure and some boundaries for their choices.
Now I leave a small selection of snacks either in the fridge or in their kitchen as you see in the picture above. I make sure to leave the tools they need where they can’t be overlooked, rather than mixed them up with all the rest. This has been so helpful for our family and helps India to stay focused.
Our Simple Setup
As a counter and work space we use the Ikea play kitchen, it’s very nearly too small but we make it work. I removed the toy stove and put a chopping board in its place and keep a second small board handy for covering the sink.
Their daily utensils are fairly simple.
- A whisk and a small, rubber based bowl for making eggs, small batches of scones or just for playing with
- A cheese grater
- Two choices of knife – a wavy chopper and a nylon serrated knife
- An egg slice
- Plates & small bowls
- A vase and funnel for flowers
As part of our new home rhythm I’ve made time for one or two ‘long recipes’. The kids have a chance to cook every day and make snacks whenever they choose but once or twice a week I set up our kitchen for a more complicated recipe. Knowing that is in the pipe line makes me feel better about our new system!
This has been the most successful super up in terms of the kids using it and how easily I can stay on to of it.
You can see our very first Montessori Toddler Kitchen here. Spoiler; it was a bench!