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Food preparation-Montessori style

Updated: Dec 13, 2021


In a Montessori environment as part of the Practical life area, there are some “works” about food preparation. Children love to do practical life activities and preparing real food is one of their favorites. Each of these activities has a specific and real purpose. Children can prepare little snacks or help to prepare some meals.

We know children observe and absorb from their surroundings. If they see parents doing daily activities at home, they want to be able to participate in doing them too. It doesn’t matter if it is preparing food, washing dishes, or cleaning, they always want to participate. These experiences are a great opportunity for them to practice and refine their fine motor skills and to follow a sequence of steps.

Active participation at home builds children’s self-steam, independence, and self-autonomy. You would see a deep satisfaction and pride when it comes to accomplishing any of these activities. Also, children are more prompt in eating what they have prepared with all their efforts.

There are different ways you can provide children the tools for food preparation. We want to share with you some options:


Prepared trays for food preparation


We need to think about all things we need while preparing food. For example, if I want to peel and cut a cucumber, I need a peeler, a chopping board, a knife, and a plate where to place it when already cut. Well in the same manner we need to prepare all required if we want children to accomplish an activity with independence. Here are some examples of what you may need when it comes to children’s food preparations activities:

Here are four examples of food preparation activities for children:

Tips:

  • Color-coded the material for each activity. This will allow children to identify by themselves which utensil belongs to which activity. (increases independence)

  • Tray and materials should be child’s sized. This will help children to have more control when manipulating the materials.

  • Real and natural materials. Children need to learn that things are made of different kind of materials, whether is made of wood, metal, glass, ceramic, etc., they need to understand that there are some materials more fragile than others and that they need to be careful while manipulating them. (This gives them the opportunity to practice fine and gross motor skills)


You will be surprised when you find out in how many ways children can participate in the kitchen. Click on the following file to know more about some kitchen activities for children according to their age.


Kitchen activities for children
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Functional kitchen or food preparation station

Another option suggested is to create a place where children can prepare their food. Play kitchen is a good resource to create a functional kitchen for children. We want to share some suggestions to adapt it more for what we are looking for: a functional kitchen for children.

Also, there are different kinds of furniture that could be suited to create a food preparation station: side table, nightstand, small tv unit, etc. We just need to think that furniture should be at the same level as children in order for them to reach properly to prepare the food.


Here there is an example of a Montessori functional kitchen for children:

Comparison between a play kitchen vs a functional kitchen

Tips:

  • Fill the glass water dispenser with the amount of water you want your children to use. Children love to work with water, so if you fill it up to the top, they might desire to use all water, just because it is available for them.

  • Look for a water dispenser with easy turn on and off mechanism.

  • It is easier for children soap dispensers with pumps.

  • Display a few items of each kind in the cupboard. This will show a more organized area and it will be easier for children to find things.


You can also add a cleaning station next to the kitchen with a dustpan and brush, broom, mop, an extra towel, laundry basket for dirty towels and napkins, compost bin (to put scraps after eating). And for last, embellish the area with some plant or wall art.

Some links to resources:


Play kitchen

Pitcher

Plates and bowls

Glasses

Cutlery

Water dispenser

Apple cutter

Vegetable and fruit scrubber

Spreader knife

Soap dispenser

Dustpan and brush




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