Do you have an old mini fridge sitting in your garage? Or perhaps a small spare fridge that never gets used? Have you thought about putting it somewhere near the kitchen so that your children can use it?
Our main fridges have been mostly unaccessible to children. Our fridges have always had the freezer part down the bottom making them totally inaccessible to toddlers and even Otis now at eight needs a step stool to reach most of the shelves. For all of my children having a little child size fridge has been a game changer. It makes our days go smoother, it allows the children to access their food when they want it and it gives them a little place for their own foods.
A child sized fridge allows our children including our toddler to have:
- Independent access to snacks - fruit, yoghurt, cheese, spreads, dips, pasta, muffins, fritters, pizza, left overs.
- Independent access to a cool drink - in summer it's nice to have cool water to drink.
- Access to milk for breakfast.
- Ability to put back their snack away when finished.
- Practical Life Skills - such as opening fridge, collecting pitcher, walking with pitcher, opening snack containers, putting away and cleaning up when finished.
- Responsibility for their own environment - includes keeping the fridge organised, tidy and clean.
- Opportunity to participate in putting away their own refrigerated groceries - Otto loves to put his own food away from the market or store.
- Ability to plan and predict their day - my older children can plan what they will have for snack, if Otis is preparing to bake he will get all of his ingredients together. At a glace the children know what is available to eat. This reduces the amount of times I am asked what we have in the house to eat.
- Knowledge of what foods require refrigeration or that need to be kept in the freezer.
Rather than have all of their food presented to them by an adult our children from toddlerhood learn where their food comes from and how to store and prepare it. Honestly, it's not a chore it becomes a part of life.
Otto's snack table is next to the fridge. This makes it really easy for him to prepare his snack or open containers. He doesn't have to carry the food far. In our fridge we currently have banana and blueberry mini muffins, strawberry yoghurt, raspberries, strawberries, oat milk, veggie pots with hummus and advocado cream, apples and oranges (for juicing). Often we will have spreads, sometimes some fruit juice or chocolate milk.
We also use a lot of the OXO pop containers, these are air tight but are easy for toddlers to open and close - also a game changer. They keep foods really fresh and Otto loves opening and closing them.
It's become convenient to store our water filter in the fridge and at 18 months Otto can easily access and use it.
It makes snack time easy peasy! With three children it has been well worth the space and effort of having a child size fridge, but note with toddlers full supervision is required.