The Montessori Method is all about practical life skills. Practical activities are ones that are a part of everyday life. Your children observe you constantly and it can be intimidating to see all that adults can do that little ones are still working on. By involving your child you are telling them that YES they can!
Through purposeful activities you help your child develop hand-eye coordination, develop independence, grow confident, create a greater concentration, and become more responsible for themselves.
The Toddler Tower invites children to safely participate in practical life skills at the counter. There are many essential skills that can be taught through observing and assisting in the kitchen. Pouring, chopping, and stirring can all be part of the early learning process when using child-friendly tools.
The best way to help them be successful is by preparing an environment in the kitchen with all the ingredients pre-measured and ready to pour for mixing! This sets them up for success and keeps you from stepping in too much. They can pour and mix without you!
When it comes to doing more involved aspects of cooking, be sure you are using child-friendly tools. Here are some ideas of tools you can get to make the kitchen a more welcome place for your little one’s learning:
- Banana slicers/ Apple Slicers
- Crinkle cutters
- Apple peelers (these can also be used to make an apple slinky, which is so fun to eat!)
- Sand timers
- Juice squeezer/hand juicer
- Garlic press
- Kid friendly knives (blunt tip, find one best suited for your child’s age- it can be great to practice with a block of cream cheese first)
- Tea set
Some ideas of things your little one can make:
- Play Dough/Slime
You can also set up the tower in the kitchen to do some simple science experiments! You can see what sinks verses floats, use milk/food coloring/dish soap to see some magic, melt ice with salt and watercolor, see how baking soda and vinegar react, and more!
Don't forget about involving them in the clean up! Sometimes a clean house and children seem like they may not go together but if you teach them the importance of cleaning up after finishing a job while they are young then cleaning up will become a lifelong skill.
- After a kitchen activity they can help sweep the floor. Sometimes putting a square of masking tape on the floor can help as a guide to know where to sweet everything. This helps with gross motor skills and spacial concepts.
- Your children can clean/de-clutter the counter or table which helps understand a sequence of events or cause and effect. They can scoot their tower to the counter so they can reach everything. This will teach them they are capable and can problem-solve without assistance.
- Whether you wash the dishes by hand or use a dishwasher, they should be scraped and rinsed beforehand and this is a perfect thing for your child to do. They can scoot the tower up to the sink and scrub dishes, just be sure you are cleaning any adult knives!
All of these activities take practice and your child will learn the satisfaction of a job well done.
“For me, practical life activities are the soul of the Montessori method, and there’s no better place than the kitchen to try them. We set everything up by measuring and placing ingredients in small containers. She loves to pour, so we use small pitchers and glasses. We cook at our island, where she uses her sous chef tower that allows her to be part of the process, but still be independent.”-@toddlertoddlerlittlestar
The stats on our tower!
Find our toddler tower HERE!