If your 1-year-old is like mine, they LOVE to be involved with cooking (or anything you are doing in the kitchen)! My Chunky Monkey loves to sweep too. These are aspects that Montessori calls “Practical Life” lessons. When a child has ways that they can be involved in the daily activities (cooking and cleaning), they develop independence and confidence. Here’s how they do practical life lessons in a Montessori school.
Here are some ways we have found we can get our 1-year old safely involved in the kitchen.
1. Purchase a learning tower. They are a bit pricey, but you will use it for years. Also, to us it is worth a million dollars for how happy it makes our son as he is able to more easily help out in the kitchen. You can set it anywhere and adjust the height so your child is easily (and safely) able to reach the table or counter.
2. Get out the salad spinner! Our son has loved “helping” make salad since he was 10 months old. He pushes the button for the salad (which helps him build important hand muscles that will be needed for writing and drawing), and he takes the lid off on his own. He also loves to tear the lettuce into small pieces and put them in a bowl I set next to him. The trick is to have his hands washed and a very clean floor under his work area. 🙂 That way if/when he drops pieces, they can easily be picked up and used.
3. Look for opportunities for them to help stir. Our Chunky Monkey loves to help stir, and it’s an activity that enhances his arm coordination. We stand close-by, but encourage him to be as independent as possible. His smile is usually about the size of a slice of watermelon, as he feels so proud to be helping. *As a side note: I believe in the Positive Discipline principle that children thrive when they have a sense of significance and belonging. Learn why we need a sense of belonging here.
I’d love to hear other ways you get little hands involved in the kitchen. Please share below.
I’ve decided to start a new trend of sharing “Montessori Monday” blogs. So, here’s the first!
Think a 1-year-old is too young to do things like water the plants? Think again.
According to Montessori, this is a perfect age to begin what is called “Practical Life” lessons. In Montessori, there are 4 main avenues of learning. They are listed in no particular order, as they are used simultaneously.
The 4 Avenues of learning are:
- Practical Life
- Sensorial Development
- Development of Language
- Early Preparation of the Mathematical Mind
According to Age of Montessori, “Practical Life exercises help develop the sense of order, coordination of movement, concentration, and independence. Children learn a sense of order as well as basic social skills through practical life tasks. These lessons can be further separated into 4 main categories: care of self, care of the environment, grace and courtesy and refinement of movement.” Continue Reading
Think a 1-year-old is too young to do crafts? Think again! There are so many activities that toddlers can begin enjoying, and they are great for their brain as well as small-motor development. Even though a 1-year-old is a long way off from learning to write, the crafts you do today help build the muscles they need in their hands later!
1. “Water Painting”. On a sunny day, take out a small container of waterand a paint brush and let your little one “paint” the sidewalk. My 13-month old LOVED it!
2. Easle Drawing/Painting. I got this great Imaginarium Easle from a local thrift store for $5. You can buy in on Amazon.com for $99 (or I bet you could find a similar one atyour local thrift shop). The chalkboard part can be use for drawing (using large chalk). There are lots of super cute ideas on Pinterest for making your own chalk in fun shapes like this (from Princesspinkygirl.com).
A definite key to the success of painting with a 1-year old, is using Melissa & Doug paint jumbo paint brushes and spill-proof paint cups. These things are amazing! I fill the cups just about 1 inch with watered down paint, so when he turns the cups upside down and shakes them, they still don’t spill. Amazing, really. Also, I like to really water down the paint so when he paints his shirt or head (which has definitely happened), it’s not a worry. It washes off easily because it’s so light.
3. DIY Edible Play-dough – Thanks to Welovebeingmoms.com, I got the best ever play-dough recipe. It really is the best too! And since it’s made from edible ingredients, I don’t have to worry if my little one tries to eat it. *Although mine just loved pounding cookie cutters into it.:-)
4. Bubbles! This may not seem like a craft, but making cool shapes can be a great pre-curser to other creative endeavors. We went through a store-bought jar of bubbles in 2 days (not kidding!). Thank goodness it only cost about .20 to make a large mason jar of DIY bubbles to use for months! I used this easy recipe from Artfulparent.com, and it turned out great. We used these Munchkin Caterpillar Spillers Stacking Cup bath toys as additional bubble blowers (the purple & yellow cups were the best) and had a blast in the sunshine making bubbles of all sizes.