Monday, July 23, 2012

Setting Up a Kid-Friendly Kitchen

I was getting ready to purchase this tracking toy that helps indirectly prepare children for reading (since they follow the balls or cars from top to bottom, left to right--well, preparation for languages that follow that structure). But since Matt and I are desperately trying to save money for the house we're trying to build, I asked myself if Henry really, really needs it. 

I recently bought him several other wooden toys, and he definitely enjoys playing with them. However, he doesn't gravitate toward them, even though they are easily accessible on low shelves. Instead, he wants to interact with new things that he finds in the environment--a box, a magazine, our shoes, etc. He also enjoys spending time outside, just freely exploring the backyard (although the mosquitoes are preventing us from doing much of that lately). Further, he very much enjoys being asked to do things. We ask him to feed Hoss, put away Hoss's leash after walks, hang up his jackets (which he likes to pull off his child-sized coat rack), push his chair back under the weaning table. It's clear that our little boy is entering the Practical Life stage. 

So instead of getting him another new toy, I decided to start making our kitchen more kid-friendly. He already has a Learning Tower and a cabinet dedicated to his stuff, including a child-sized colander that I found on sale at one of those discount home goods store.

For ideas about what to do next, I went straight to a proof copy of the book Kylie and I recently published--Kids in the Kitchen: Simple Recipes That Build Independence and Confidence the Montessori Way. I needed to consult the section about How to Set Up the Kitchen (Kylie wrote it). The section includes a checklist of items with which to stock your kitchen. Since we can't afford to buy everything right now, I decided to flip to the Skills section to figure out the order in which I should introduce each activity (and see which equipment was required).

I decided to order a child-sized pitcher, spreader, mixing spoon, and tongs from Montessori Services. I'm eager for them to arrive so we can get busy!

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