Many parents feel overwhelmed at the thought of trying to teach children cooking and baking skills. But young children love food preparation activities. Food preparation activities are fun and perfect even for toddlers. And children are never too young to get started with healthy eating habits.
Montessori Food Preparation Activities for Toddlers
Here are a number of Montessori food preparation activities that work well for toddlers. These are all activities I used with my now-4-year-old granddaughter, Zoey, when she was a toddler. I’ll list the age she was at the time, although we didn’t always do the activities at the earliest possible age. Of course, the age can easily vary according to the toddler and which activities work best in your home or classroom.
You’ll often find videos as well as blog posts with resources for each of these activities in the links below.
Simple Food Preparation Activities for Young Toddlers
One of the best things you can do is have a Montessori toddler snack area available in or near your kitchen. That will encourage your toddler to develop both independence and food preparation skills. Your snack area will naturally change according to your toddler’s age and needs.
With younger toddlers from 1-2 years old, you’ll typically want to isolate one skill. Often, you can think about the skills needed for food preparation activities later on, and just focus on one of those skills. You can start with activities as simple as putting paper cups in the muffin pans.
For example, toddlers enjoy using a mortar and pestle. They can use one to grind herbs or a variety of other items. (From “Art Appreciation Activities from Montessori By Mom” post). Are there other kitchen utensils your toddler can learn how to safely use?
Cutting a banana was one of my granddaughter’s favorite activities as a toddler. It’s a great introduction to cutting foods with a knife. (See my post and video of my granddaughter at 20 months in “Cutting a Banana Practical Life Activity for Toddlers”)
Pouring skills are necessary for so many recipes and other food-preparation activities. That’s a great skill for all ages of toddlers to work on. Both before and after age 2, my granddaughter worked on many pouring skills. (See practical life activities and resources in my “Montessori Services Pouring Activities Review” post.) Working on a variety of skills such as spooning, scooping, and stirring is important for food preparation activities, too.
Food Preparation Activities for Older Toddlers
If you work on simple practical life skills with younger toddlers, by the time they’re 2½, they can do much more complex food preparation activities. If you haven’t done a lot of food preparation activities previously, it’s totally fine to work on simple food preparation activities with older toddlers, too. It’s just awesome if you’re working on food preparation with your toddler!
Note: I helped quite a bit, but Zoey did most of the work in the following food-preparation activities.
Zoey’s first big baking project was making flourless peanut butter chocolate chip muffins at 2¼. Note: These posts include recipes that work well with toddlers and preschoolers! My whole family loves these healthy recipes.
At almost 2½, Zoey made gluten-free blueberry muffins.
It just takes a variety of simple skills to make healthy yogurt and berry popsicles.
Tea parties can be used to work on many food preparation skills (as well as grace and courtesy!). For our first tea party when Zoey was 2½, she scooped out and mashed an avocado, cut a tomato, and did the work needed to make gluten-free wholegrain avocado sandwiches with herbal tea.
For our healthy and courteous Teddy bear picnic, Zoey made mini blueberry muffins, washed fruit for fruit cups, and prepared chamomile tea.
At 2¾, Zoey made a more complex healthy, frozen,raspberry and yogurt dessert for the family.
At 2¾, Zoey had lots of fun with apple coring, slicing, and spreading peanut butter for her snack.
She loved preparing ants on a log for snack at 2¾.
By the time she was almost 3, Zoey was ready to make vegan pumpkin pie squares.
Montessori Healthy Eating Activities for Toddlers
Introducing a wide variety of fruits and vegetables is important in encouraging a lifetime of healthy eating.
We did this fruit-exploration activity when my granddaughter was 9½ months old, but it would work very well with young toddlers (from “Shoots and Sprouts Activities + Free Printable from Montessori By Mom” post).
Fruit matching, smelling, and tasting is a wonderful activity for toddlers at a variety of ages. We have a post and video of my daughter (Zoey’s aunt) and Zoey at age 18 months with a fruit matching and tasting activity (See “Montessori-Inspired Fruit Matching and Tasting for Toddlers.”)
I have a free fruit rainbow do-a-dot printable that can be used with a variety of transferring activities for toddlers or used with do-a-dot markers as shown on the tray above. Older toddlers can be introduced to the concept of eating a rainbow … a great way to focus on healthy eating.
For toddlers who are ready to work on scissor skills with cardstock or paper, I have free eat-a-rainbow cutting strips. These are great for discussions of healthy foods as well as cutting skills.
Older toddlers might also enjoy some of the simpler eat-a-rainbow activities in my “Free Eat-a-Rainbow Printables and Montessori-Inspired Activities” post.
Montessori Food Preparation Activities for Preschoolers
“Montessori-Inspired Food Preparation for Preschoolers” is my roundup post with activities for both toddlers and preschoolers.
2018 Montessori Series – Kids in the Kitchen
This post is part of the 2018 Montessori series! See the posts below for more fun Kids in the Kitchen ideas!
- Get Kids Cooking Recipes the Montessori Way | The Natural Homeschool
- Montessori Toddlers in the Kitchen: Food Preparation and Healthy Eating Activities | Living Montessori Now
- Practical Life for Kids in the Kitchen | Mama’s Happy Hive
- In the Kitchen from 12 to 18 Months | The Kavanaugh Report
Learn more about my eBook Montessori at Home or School: How to. Teach Grace and Courtesy!
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