Today I want to share some skills that children can learn in the kitchen. Some of these are simple like mashing that children can begin at around 18 months, and some are more complex like grating which we would try at around 3 years+. These are fantastic practical life skills to have, they also help the child to develop confidence, concentration, fine motor skills, and coordination. Many of these skills require hand and arm strength and require the hands to work together in a coordinated way. There isn't a need to rush to teach our children these skills, hopefully, they... Read more →


Have you thought about ways of supporting your child's developing independence at breakfast time? Perhaps you already have a great set-up? Once the child reaches around 18 months old there is usually a way they can participate in making breakfast. Perhaps for the very young child, it could involve dumping pre-measured cereal into their bowl and pouring pre-measured milk over the top. Perhaps it's as simple as the child picking out fruit while you add it to yoghurt or oats, peeling their own boiled egg, chopping their own banana, or spreading jam on toast. Want to see what breakfast looks... Read more →


Otto (3yrs) and I were looking for some new, healthy snacks to make. We found a few ideas in Little Green Kitchen. First, we made some fruit salad with Mini Watermelon bowls. This is an idea from Little Green Kitchen but all we did was make a normal fruit salad (with melons, strawberries, banana, raspberries, blueberries, apple, grapes, and banana) and put it in a Mini Organic Watermelons (AU)(similar US here). It looks so cute. We used a melon baller to make melon balls and to scoop out the watermelons completely. Then we chopped up the rest of the fruit... Read more →


This little apple corer/spiralizer has been in a couple of our Montessori toddler classrooms. Have you used one before? In our toddler classes, the children would line up to use it. It's fantastic to use for apples but it's also fun to use with potatoes!! It's not easy, the child needs to rotate the handle to turn the apple (or potato). It's important that your spiralizer has good suction so it doesn't move about. I've found the best suction is on our kitchen bench, rather than on a wooden table. It's wonderful for the child to participate in making snack... Read more →


My children love Sushi but when we make it at home Otto (3yrs) will play with and eat all of the rice. So I was thinking, why not make Onigiri. Onigiri are Japanese rice balls traditionally made in a triangular shape and wrapped with Nori. We've taken a slightly different approach and used children's rice moulds. Some Japanese parents use these moulds to make decorative rice balls for school lunchboxes. Onigiri can be left plain or have toppings or fillings. For now we've decided to keep our Onigiri plain. I presented Otto with various rice moulds, just cooked (warm) Sushi... Read more →


What are your children making today? It's a cold day and we are having friends over for dinner. So I was thinking of making homemade pizza. What goes best with homemade pizza? It has to be homemade garlic bread! I enlisted my three-year-old to help. Garlic bread doesn't need a recipe but I wanted to show you our steps. Just to say, we can, if we have the time, we can include our young children in the making and baking but also we can include them in hosting, in demonstrating hospitality towards our guests. Otto (3yrs) couldn't do this all... Read more →


Today we spent a lot of time in the kitchen so I thought it would be a good opportunity to share some practical life work. Above Otto is using an electric juicer. This is super efficient compared to a manual juicer. The child needs strength to hold the orange and press down. When pressure is applied to the juicer it rotates to juice the fruit. It's also faster than using a manual juicer, Otto can easily juice a bag full of oranges. The pouring part is a little tricky. Remember to have a small sponge nearby. A tasty treat and... Read more →


The new school year is almost here so it feels like a good time to share some lunch box tips for Montessori families and those attending Montessori schools. Please know that we are not perfect, these are things that we strive towards: allow the child to participate in the making and packing of lunches - young children can slice vegetables or peel eggs or simply put the ingredients into their lunch box. Montessori from the Start recommends children from five years start to prepare their own lunch. This allows the child to have some input into and ownership over their... Read more →


We've been reading Busy Little Hands Activities for Preschoolers: Food Play by Amy Palanjian. Amy has a refreshing approach to food and this is reflected in Food Play. I love the article on Yummy Toddler Food about the importance of exposure "We can expose kids to a wide variety of foods by eating it ourselves, by having them be involved in the preparation of it, by taking them to the grocery store. We can expose them to a lot of foods without putting that insane pressure on ourselves.". The conversation about the five internal drives to eat (hunger, togetherness, curiosity,... Read more →


I am always looking for new and interesting snack ideas for my children. In case you are too, here are eight snack and food prep trays that we've used recently. Jam on Pikelets - spreading strawberry jam onto pikelets. We often use crackers for spreading activities so it's nice to use pikelets for something different. Melon Balls - my three-year-old finds this difficult but it's worth the challenge. We use a small melon baller and some cocktail picks to make it easier to share. I've cut the rounded end off the melon so that it sits flat on the chopping... Read more →


Are you looking for something new to make with your children? I love making Gnocchi with Otto (36 months). I set the activity on his low cooking table so he can reach everything he needs. Bringing the activity down to the child's level is a good idea if possible. It tells the child 'this is your baking'. The child takes the lead and I am there to help and guide when needed. Gnocchi is great for children who like to get their hands dirty and for those who love play-dough. The Gnocchi dough needs rolling and cutting and this rolling... Read more →


I love a good sensory tub but I know there are more authentic sensory experiences for toddlers. Cooking can be a wonderful authentic sensory experience. Is there another activity where the child can use all of their senses? Sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch? The thing about cooking is the child can experience heat - the sound, smell and feel of the food cooking. They can contribute to a family snack or meal. You know that toddlers can cook safely? Toddlers have been doing it for years in Montessori schools and communities. It is the Montessori approach that has inspired... Read more →


This year has been difficult for Otto (2yrs). After moving in January it's taken us months to fully set up our prepared environment to the point that everything is working and functional. But it's so worth it, and it's worth taking time to get it right. As Otto's environment and little spaces in our home came together I noticed a change. Slowly he has taken on more responsibility for his personal care, slowly his level of concentration, patience, perseverance and ability to play alone returned. Having his own snack cupboard is just a small but important part of our prepared... Read more →


I've noticed a lot of parents using the Little Helpers Toddler Cookbook, so much so that I decided we needed to give it a try. Do you have this cookbook in your collection? It was only released last year so perhaps it's new to you? The Little Helpers Toddler Cookbook: Healthy, Kid-Friendly Recipes to Cook Together has 40 healthy mealtime (dinner or lunch), snack and dessert recipes. It also has: a good range of healthy and easy to find ingredients. good, clear, attractive photographs including a photo for each recipe. easy to follow instructions. instructions that are colour coded so... Read more →


This morning I was cleaning and restocking our toddler fridge and thought it would be fun to take a few pictures of what is in the fridge and how Otto uses it. All three of my children use the fridge but as Otto is the only one that can't reach the main fridge, he uses this fridge the most! Let's take a look. In our toddler fridge we always have: water in a large dispenser sliced fruit and/or vegetables yoghurt a few pieces of (whole) fruit in the bottom, usually apples or oranges dip - hommus, beetroot hommus or avocado... Read more →