Toddlers in the Kitchen
During this stage of life is when they begin to develop the desire to achieve greater levels of independence, resulting in self-confidence through physical interactions with his environment. Physical manipulation of the environment facilitates the cohesive development of mind and body. The home environment and the classroom environment can provide the motives of activity that foster the natural development of mind and body integration. There is so much that the children do in the classroom regarding food preparation and setting up for lunch. The skills that they are learning in the classroom can be practiced at home as well!
One of the first activities the children learn in the classroom is pouring their own drink. They learn how to hold the miniature pitcher and pour into their own glass. After time and practice the child learns the proper measurement so they no longer spill. However, spilling also gives them a chance to learn how to clean up after themselves!
In class the children also learn to set the table. Two to three children set the table for all their classmates. They are sure that each person gets a place mat, utensils, plate, and cup. One of these children also has the opportunity to serve the milk and/or water for their classmates.
During snack time in the class the toddlers learn to serve themselves independently. There isn’t any interruptions during their work period to all eat. They learn to take turns, sitting two at a time at the snack table. They also learn how to serve themselves with tongs.
Each day on the work shelf there are a couple of food preparation activities set up for the children to learn how to wash, cut, and peel different fruits and vegetables. All the items they would need for this activity is placed on one tray. Along with these activities there is another tray set up for baking. Each ingredient the child uses is already measured out and placed in small bowls. The child learns to combine the ingredients, and mix them together. With some assistance they are able to bake it in the small oven in class.
Below are some of the tools they use.
Another activity they participate in is washing the dishes! This is one they truly enjoy. In the class there are two basins that the child fills up with water, one has soap where they scrub the plates and the other simply has water to rinse the dishes. The children typically wash their snack dishes here.
They also participate in helping with the dishwasher. After the load is complete, we (the adult) empty items they cannot reach to put away then the children help by putting away all of their dishes, bowls, utensils, cups, and food prep. items.
One of the easiest activities in class that can be replicated at home is cleaning the table. The children use a sponge and a small hand towel that is placed on a tray. They take the sponge to the sink, wet it, and then squeeze the excess water. They walk over to the table, wipe it clean, then dry it with their towel. Pretty simple!