Are you the sort of mom that prefers your young children aren’t in the kitchen at all? Or do you fall on the other end of the spectrum and have every kitchen toy and activity created for kids ever? I’d love to know as I’m still sorting out where I stand on this topic.
I definitely lean into a lot of Montessori territory, but I’m not quite all the way there. You know I adore the learning tower, and that’s mainly used in our kitchen. I also love cooking and baking with her regularly. I can’t imagine daughter not being in the kitchen at all, but I’m not sure how much and what sort of stuff we should provide for her.
Let me tell you where we’re at now.
Obviously we have the learning tower, and we also have a small IKEA table and chair for her to use for snacks. We also have one cupboard that contains kitchen “toys” and sometimes some Montessori-esque kitchen “work”. Right now we have a jug and cup for practicing pouring (with a little cloth for cleaning spills). We also have a bowl of containers with lids for practicing opening and closing. And then a bunch of kitchen tools. She uses these pretty often; maybe 3-4 times a week when I’m in the kitchen.
We’ve had a snack bin in the bottom of our pantry that she is able to reach once we open the door for her. I am not a fan of free-grazing for snacks, so I like that she needs to ask us to open the door. She enjoys debating between snack bars, pistachios, and beef sticks each afternoon.
I recently moved her basket of silverware, cups, snack containers, and other accessories to the bottom shelf. Again, she can reach them once the door is opened. I like that she can now get supplies to help set the table; she has just started figuring out how to put things at different spots at the table (a fork for Baba, a napkin for Mama…).
This is where I’m sort of stuck.
Should I make her utensils and other items accessible without needing the door opened? Should I combine her two shelves and have her “play” items with actual kitchen items together? And please tell: what are you favorite kitchen or food related activities for your kids?