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Snapshot - Toddler Food Prep Ideas

Montessori toddler peeling fruit at 17 months

There are a lot of lists around about Montessori food activities for toddlers, so I wanted to share the activities that we actually did in our home today. It might look like a lot but these are activities that we do throughout the day organically, they aren't put on the shelf in life practical life trays. Some of these activities Otto (17 months) will do in his snack area (pictured above) and some at the kitchen counter, it depends on what we are doing at the time. Anyway, I hope you find this snapshot useful! 

Toddler Food Prep Ideas at How we Montessori 17 months  winter

  • Picking Herbs - this is a sweet basil variety and Otto is pulling the leaves (gently as possible) off the plant. 
  • Whisking Eggs - in preparation for cooking the eggs, be careful with this one, you don't want the toddler licking or eating the raw egg. 
  • Peeling an Egg - this is fantastic for fine motor control and teaching the toddler to be gentle. The egg can then be sliced and eaten for snack. 
  • Mashing Avocado - we often mash bananas too for muffins. Avocado is so nutrient dense it is an excellent snack on toast or in a sandwich. Along with the mortar and pestle work it's really suited to the toddler as the child can get a little rough and use their strength. 
  • Crush Herbs with Mortar and Pestle - Otto loves this!! It requires a little force and makes a bit of noise. Here he is crushing and grinding some basil, add some olive oil and pine nuts and you have pesto!
  • Making Cheese Snack - using cocktail sticks Otto is preparing snack for a friend. Add some crackers or bread sticks (Otto loves little bread sticks) and perhaps some cherry tomatoes and you have a little toddler made platter. This is fantastic fine motor work. We prefer to use cocktail sticks that aren't so sharp, but use what you can. 
  • Pulling Apart Garlic - this is a good activity for toddlers who like to rip or pull things apart. It's also good transferring work. Otto also did a little (unprompted) peeling. 
  • Peeling a Banana - we go through a lot of bananas so this is an everyday practice. I've cut a banana in two and cut a little slice to allow Otto to peel it. You can see here how I prepared banana peeling previously for Otis. 
  • Peeling a Mandarin - this is a fantastic reminder to eat seasonally, the mandarins are fantastic right now. Otto ate five of them straight! Ours are seedless and the segments are so small they don't present a chocking hazard. Otto not only has to peel them but then also to pull them into segments. Delicious!
  • Mixing in Pesto - Otto is mixing our homemade pesto through some pasta. When he is finished we put a beeswax wrap on the bowl and put it in the (children's) fridge until dinner. This is a nice little reminder that food preparation can be real, the very young toddler can make a real contribution to family life and towards a family meal! You may not see it but the child knows the work they have done, imagine how it must feel for a young child to see the family enjoy the food that they've made!
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