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What Montessori Parents Do Differently - Cooking with Heat (Using Electric Skillets)

Otto cooking eggs  using electric skillet at 20 months

This morning I took a couple of pictures of Otto cooking eggs. At 20 months he is able to crack the eggs into a bowl, I will fish out any eggshells, he can add some herbs and pour the egg onto the hot plate. He can stir the eggs but needs help spooning the eggs in to a bowl before he sets the table and eats the eggs. There is no need for him to be a bystander and watch me cook. We tidy up together.

We will make pancakes on the hotplate once he is able to flip with a spatula, perhaps we will make some mini frittatas. Today I found a recipe for cooking chocolate chip cookies on the hot plate, it's doable! 

There are so many reasons why we choose to use an electric hot plate or electric skillet when cooking with young children. 

  • It's safe. We cook on the lowest possible setting and it only takes a couple of minutes. Otto can safely and without hesitation cook eggs on the electric hotplate on the lowest setting. The hotplate is warm but won't burn if the child touches it. There are no other knobs or switches that the child can accidentally turn on. 
  • It is portable and easy to put on the child's level. Children feel more secure when standing on the floor and can fully concentrate on their work. The hotplate or skillet can be positioned so the child doesn't need to lean over, reach or balance to use it. 
  • It makes difficult work achievable. Cooking with a toddler sounds difficult but this set up is really simple and easy.
  • In a classroom or playgroup setting, it is an affordable alternative to installing a cooktop. They can be used intermittently, packed away when not being used so they don't take up too much space. The larger hotplates are perfect for cooking pancakes on pancake day!

Electric skillets and hot plates in Montessori homes and schools

Here are a few examples of toddlers and children cooking with an electric skillet or hot plate in Montessori homes and schools. 

  1. Our Montessori Life has a wonderful child-size kitchen that includes an electric skillet.
  2. Otis using an electric fry pan to cook raspberry pancakes
  3. This is a fantastic classroom set up at Ava Wanas Montessori
  4. This is also at Ava Wanas Montessori.
  5. Cooking pancakes at King's Wood Montessori
  6. Pancake Tuesday at Montessori Magic. The larger flat surface makes it easier for the child to flip the pancakes. 

Wow, this child is able to make a meal for the whole family. 

This Instagram account has a lot of Montessori and food related images and suggestions. It's lovely to see the younger siblings observing how the pancakes are made. 

This is a good video of 22-month-old twins making scrambled eggs, their mother is a Montessori guide so this is really useful to watch. 

I'd love to hear what you cook with your children using an electric skillet or hot plate, at home or at school! If you have an electric skillet or hotplate in your cupboard but haven't used it in a while, I encourage you to try it with your children, it might be easier and more fun than you expect. 

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