TURNING YOUR LITTLE ONE INTO A KITCHEN HELPER WITH LEARNING TOWER
When we first started to invite our daughter to assist in the kitchen, it seemed daunting. However, with the proper preparation and setup, it turned into a favorite way to spend time together. We have enjoyed countless moments together and made some beautiful memories from baking Christmas cookies to those more simple mornings making banana pancake breakfasts.
There is no better tool to safely and independently welcome your child into the kitchen for practical life work than the Montessori learning tower. Also sometimes referred to as a kitchen helper stool/ tower, a learning tower is basically a step stool with high sides that make it a safer and more stable option for your little one to climb up and get involved in the kitchen. One reason learning towers are preferred over a step stool is that they generally have adjustable steps and standing platforms. This allows the learning tower to grow and change with your child, making them a great investment that the whole family can benefit from.
If inviting your child to assist in the kitchen seems challenging, just remember the key to success is thoughtful preparation and the right mindset.
Preparation may look like this:
Clearing the counter of things you don’t want your little to grab, touch or throw (once up at that height throwing is a whole new learning experience), sharp knives are out of reach, open bags of flour are stored out of reach - it is up to you what you want to allow your little to explore once up there
Have all ingredients and measuring cups/spoons either already on the counter, or easily accessible so your little doesn’t need to be left long at the counter alone while you search the back of your cupboard for that ancient spice bottle
Pre-measuring ingredients into individual bowls/cups for more independent work - this way your little one can independently add ingredients to a large mixing bowl with little assistance
Planning which tasks your little one will be able to assist with, and which tasks you prefer to do
Giving yourself extra time- everything will take much much longer with your little one assisting, expect that and it will be fine
Getting in the right mindset before you begin.
You must first mentally prepare for a mess - especially at the beginning. Eggs getting thrown (we had a phase of ALL eggs being immediately thrown to the floor, thankfully we have a dog to help with cleanup!), scoops of flour missing the mixing bowl, and landing on the counter and floor... you get the picture. Helping clean up once finished is also a valuable lesson to learn.
An important thing to remember is that we don’t need to invite our little ones to help in the kitchen every time we are cooking. If you are really busy and stressed about time, for example, you may not be in the best mental state to invite your little one to assist with dinner. It’s okay to say, not now, not today and instead, plan for the next time. It’s more important to make those authentic experiences positive (for everyone involved) than just plentiful.
Once you have embraced the mess, got your mindset in the right place, and made the time. Let the fun (work) begin. Pull the learning tower up to the counter or sink and away you go guiding your little one and watching as he/she grows in independence and confidence. Whether your home is Montessori or not, a learning tower is an incredible addition that all families can enjoy.
We at Góc Montessori hope you found this article useful and please take a look at the related article What to do with the learning tower? (coming soon) for ideas on how to get your little one involved in the kitchen.
>> Products mentioned in this article: Learning tower