It’s no surprise that my little guy loves to cook. When he was a baby he was always in the kitchen with me watching me cook, you name it I will cook it or try to anyways.
Since having my son my extensive cooking style has changed slightly. I focus more on the nutritional value of foods I am preparing for my family as well as the time it takes to make a meal. This has changed somewhat since I now invite my son to cook along side me.
Recently we purchased a Original Learning Tower from the Goodwill. Talk about a major score it was only $13! They usually retail for $125-$250 depending on the retailer or manufacturer. Once we got it home our dilemma was where we were going to keep it because I don’t have a huge kitchen. Luckily we found a great location right near the kitchen.
Now I have cooked before with little ones so I know the biggest thing to do is prep EVERYTHING before you even think about inviting them into the kitchen. Seriously you will thank me for this advice if you decide to just wing it. Okay let me back up and explain about prep everything. In accordance to Montessori you want to make sure the children have a hand in the process because after all this is how they learn by doing. Now this momma is still struggling with this but I try to leave as much stuff I think my son can handle on his own with little or no guidance. So here is my checklist in no way do you have to follow this checklist you can make your own:
1. Have in mind what you want to prepare (I always right directions to a recipe on a large index card and place near us).
2. Get out all your ingredients, utensils, bowls etc…and decide which ones are age appropriate for little one to handle on their own.
3. Per measure ingredients and place in a prep bowl…(if you are working on pouring and math activities this is a good opportunity to practice)
4. Have paper towel/dish towel handy
5. Have a garbage bowl handy. I usually place a store shopping bag inside of a large bowl.
6. Remember that a 10 min meal prep for you can be a 45 min meal prep when cooking with your little one.
7. Have fun…use lots of language with your little when cooking together, let them use all their senses while doing the activity.
My checklist is just a small template to what you can do with yours. I also thought it would be a grand idea to invest in his own cooking utensils, some of these items I gathered from the Dollar Tree and Amazon.
Allowing your children to take part in meal preparations can help with pickers eaters. Studies have shown that some children who are picky eaters will eat better if they have had a hand in preparing their meals. It also helps to promote proper nutrition, as well as math, fine motor, science, cultural (if you are making an ethnic meal), language development and life skills.
Cooking with your children is a wonderful way to have fun, get messy and bond. So the next time you need a carrot chopped or a bowl mixed let your little one help you out, they will enjoy it and will boost their confidence.
Mama Montessori and J