If you visit a Montessori classroom for young children, chances are you’ll see a bunch of kids in aprons working to prepare food. Teaching kids to cook goes way beyond that to give them culinary skills– it gives them a sense of pride and independence. There is something so satisfying for a childwho is usually the one being served, being able to prepare something yourself and serve it to someone else.
Here are 10 fun and easy ways to teach your child to cook:
1. Set them up for success with the right tools
There are a few basic things kids need to be successful in the kitchen. First, they need a place to work that is easy to get to. This can be a small table next to the kitchen, or you can use one Kitchen Help so they can reach the switch.
You’ll also need a few kid-sized tools like a corrugated chopper, apron, cutting board, small wooden spoon, and whisk. But don’t think you have to buy everything at once mom. They can expand their kitchen tool collection over time.
2. Talk about safety…then step back
When introducing things like a corrugated shredder for the first time, briefly talk about safety and any rules you may have, such as: B. leaving work in the kitchen and keeping tools out of the mouth, etc.
Then, be careful not to hover while your child works. You can supervise them, of course, but they can’t concentrate or do their best work if you’re over them.
3. Insert heels
Isolating skills like hacking makes it easier for kids to learn.
Show them how to use your wavy chopper, starting with something easy to chop like a cucumber. For round things like cucumbers, it may be easier for the child if you cut the vegetable lengthwise first so it has a flat side to put on their cutting board.
Make sure you give them a small bowl for the pieces they cut. Little kids do better when it’s really organized and they know where to put things.
4. Put them in charge of snacks
Children in Montessori schools almost always have Self-service snacking where they either make their own snack or select a portion of food from a tray and place it on their own plate. They usually wash the dishes too when they’re done.
While you probably don’t have a large tray of food for your child to help themselves from, they can simply select a preset number of crackers from a box, serve themselves a portion of fruit from a bowl in the fridge, or chop carrots with hummus.
5. Create a kitchen herb garden
Show your child the process of cooking from start to finish. If you’re not a big gardener, you can just pick a few herbs and keep them in pots. Ask your child to water the plants and pluck the leaves when you need them. Tearing up herb leaves is also a great fine motor activity that even little toddlers can do!
6. Invite her to help with dinner
Besides learning cooking skills, cooking together really helps young children to feel important and part of the family.
It also goes a long way toward solving the fiasco of trying to cook dinner with a young child who wants your attention. The good news is that almost all meals have an aspect that kids can help with, even if it just involves ripping or slicing lettuce for a salad vegetables.
Bonus: your child is more likely to eat something if they helped prepare it!
7. Introduce special tools
I’m not always a huge fan of disposable kitchen items for myself, but there are a few small and inexpensive kitchen essentials that really help make cooking doable (and fun!) for kids. things like a egg slicer (which is also great for strawberries), a cherry stoner and a apple slicer Keep things fun and interesting for your child and let them practice with different foods.
8. Have them measure and mix
Measuring and mixing is one of the easiest ways kids can help out in the kitchen.
Choose a recipe that isn’t very precise, like soup or cereal, and show your child how to use measuring spoons and cups to measure out the ingredients.
If you’re worried they’ll put way too much in, have them toss things into a separate bowl and then add to the main mix so it doesn’t ruin the entire recipe.
9. Have them choose the activity
This is possibly the hardest part for parents. Do you really want to deal with the mess of letting your child practice their budding culinary skills on their own whenever they want?
The key is to prepare your child for success. If they’re only 3 years old, don’t offer a bunch of options that are likely to make a big mess. Instead, choose a simple activity like slicing carrots or pitting cherries and put everything they need on a low shelf where they can get it themselves.
Make sure you show them the whole process including washing hands before and after and how to clean up. Be sure to specify that you want them to clean up the entire activity In front the food they have prepared. This will help fend off the clean-up battle.
Once they’ve mastered the activity, including tidying up, you can add another option. This is a great way to control the chaos factor without hovering over your child which totally ruins the fun!
Here are some possible activities you could put on your child’s shelf to do independently and what you might want on the tray:
What you need: a tray, a small bowl for the dish, a small bowl or plate for clementine slices.
Peel and slice bananas
What you need: a tray, a dish for the dish, banana slicer or wave chopper, cutting board, and a small bowl or platter for banana slices.
What you’ll need: a small basin and brush for scrubbing carrots, a small sponge for spills, a small carrot peeler and bowl for leftovers, a corrugated food processor, a cutting board, and a small bowl or plate for carrot slices.
What you’ll need: a cutting board, an egg slicer or ripper, and a small bowl or plate for slices.
Note: It helps a lot if you cut off the green tips beforehand.
Peel and cut eggs
What you need: a small bowl for bowls, a cutting board, an egg slicer, and a small bowl or plate for slices.
What you need: a cutting board, a mini grater and a small bowl for cheese.
Spread peanut butter
What you’ll need: a small lidded container with a teaspoon of peanut butter, spreader knife, cutting board, crackers to spread the peanut butter, and a small plate for the crackers.
What you need: a cutting board, a cherry pitter, a small bowl for pits and a small bowl for cherries.
Make trail mix
What You’ll Need: Several lidded containers with assorted nuts, granola, dried fruit, a scoop or small measuring cup, and a bowl for the trail mix.
10. Set up a mud kitchen
Play is such an important part of how children process experiences and new information. When you start cooking with your child and then set up a simple mud kitchen outside, you’ll see them practicing their new skills and creating all sorts of creative dishes of their own.
Remember, it doesn’t have to be fancy. It can be as simple as some pots and pans and old kitchen utensils with some sand or dirt nearby. It’s great if you have a water source that your child can use, but that can easily fill a large pool or water table with the hose.
When it comes to introducing your child to cooking, it’s important to follow their interests and skills. Introduce one thing at a time, don’t freak out about the clutter, and let your child lead the way. Enjoy your meal!
Montessori at home, teaching children, parenting styles, montessori, nutrition