The picture above is of inside our walk-in pantry. The bottom shelf contains Caspar's things (he is three years old);
- water dispenser
- glasses on a tray
- fresh stack of napkins
- food storage containers
- bowl of fruit
- preparation placemat
- glass juicer
- container of utensils
- apple slicer/corer
We also hang his apron inside here on low hook on the wall as per the apron post. He is always supervised in this area however unless there is a safety concern I don't step in. He is free to eat/drink from this area whenever he wants. Although through routine he generally only gets food from here at snack time, I don't have a problem with him over-eating or eating from here before dinner or at any other inappropriate time.
These food storage containers are from Tupperware. We don't use a lot of plastic in our kitchen but have found these useful. Caspar is able to open them easily himself. Inside they contain rice cakes, slices of bread, nuts, dried fruit (sultanas, apples), pepitas, crackers. The containers don't always contain the same things so I made some picture and word labels to help him identify what is in each one. The labels were made using the SEN Teacher site, laminated so they can be reused and taped to the containers.
We have a lot of child sized utensils however these are the ones we use the most. We couldn't live without the serrated slicer and tongs. Caspar cuts so many things with the serrated slicer - bananas, apple, carrots, cake and it appears really safe for children to use. Child sized tongs are important as adult sized ones are really difficult for children to control.
This draw is nearby. It only contains a couple of plates and bowls. They are ceramic and glass and we have never broken one. Caspar's lunch box and a light weight chopping board are also stored here.
I wouldn't suggest everyone give their children this much freedom in the kitchen. We started with a simple snack table and increased freedom and responsibility over time. As Caspar got older and taller we increased the food, tools/utensils that he had access to.