Let Them Make Cake! Expanding on Montessori Schooling in the Kitchen
Sending your child to a Montessori School helps ensure they are getting a quality education during the school day. However, this does not mean you can't help enhance their Montessori experience at home.
There are many ways to expand upon your child's education at home, but one of the very best ways you can do this is by involving your little one in the kitchen. Kitchen work helps fine-tune motor skills, teaches life skills, and gives children a feeling of pride and accomplishment.
Many parents are intimidated by the idea of giving their child kitchen tasks. The thought of their child acquiring a cut or burn makes them hesitant to involve their children in the cooking. While this is understandable, it is no reason to make the kids leave the kitchen when dinner prep begins. Here are a few ways very young people can help out with the cooking.
Peeling and Slicing a Boiled Egg — Peeling a boiled egg, and slicing it with an egg slicer once peeled is an excellent way for children to work on their fine motor skills and practice concentration. The egg can then be served up for breakfast or mixed into tuna or an egg salad.
Giving children productive jobs such as this one will make their work seem more worthwhile and teach young chefs the importance of even the smallest tasks.
Making Fruit Salad — Soft fruits such as bananas, strawberries, and peaches can be sliced using a butter knife or a nylon, kid-safe knife. This provides little ones an opportunity to create a side dish of fruit salad all on their own. The amazing feeling of independence this creates is invaluable.
For an added benefit, have the child move the fruit from the cutting board to the bowl using tongs. This will help strengthen the hands for scissor work and pencil usage, and will encourage the child to focus on the task at hand.
Independent Baking — With the exception of placing the pan in the oven, children as young as three can bake many things independently when given the right tools. Put together a baking tray for your child to use as an after-school activity. You will be amazed at what your tiny chef can do all on their own.
A baking tray should include all ingredients — pre-measured for the youngest bakers — as well as measuring cups and spoons (if ingredients have not been premeasured, then also a mixing bowl, pan, and spoon). It should also include a recipe sheet. For those who cannot read, include pictures telling them exactly what to put into the bowl.
Drink Station — Putting together a drink station for your children means less work for you, and more independence for them. A drink station should include water in some sort of container that makes serving drinks easy for little hands. A pitcher is usually not the best option unless it is very small. A jug with a spigot, on the other hand, is the ideal container for a drink station. The station should also include a cup for each child, and should be placed at a height that the kids can easily reach. Including cloths for wiping up spills is also a good idea.
These are just a few of the ways you can get your kids active in the kitchen. Rinsing veggies, putting together salads, mixing items, cutting soft ingredients, sorting foods, and washing dishes are all great options as well.