There is one activity in the Montessori classroom that exposes children to math, language and science, while helping develop concentration, motor skills, and delayed gratification. It doesn’t take place regularly in most schools but it is always found in a Montessori environment…food preparation and cooking!
Whether it is slicing bananas or hard-boiled eggs, chopping vegetables, or cracking pecans children love to prepare and eat food.
With a little planning, cooking can become a part of your child’s home life too.
A Few Tips…
- Prepare a safe environment: Set up the food prep at the child’s level on a low table or use a helper platform, Learning Tower, or sturdy step stool.
2. Choose age appropriate activities: Cooking for toddlers can include: spreading soft cheese or butter, peeling hard boiled eggs, washing and drying fruits and vegetables, cutting bananas. Primary children can practice cracking and scrambling eggs, preparing and pouring batter for waffles. School aged children are ready to read recipes, measure ingredients, and learn to chop with a sharp knife.
The process may take longer than doing it alone. Young children are often more interested in the process of preparing food than in the outcome and they love to experiment. You can control mess by limiting the amount of food provided to prepare.
You can find child sized cooking equipment, including bowls and dull spreading knives and fun items like the apple peeler at http://www.montessoriservices.com
Don’t forget! A child is more likely to try new food items if they have helped to prepare it. This is a great way to help picky or cautious eaters become more adventurous and expand their palates.