Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Kitchen tour

In keeping with our theme for March I'd like to share a tour of our kitchen. Here is our space:

And another angle: 

We love this room. It's a bright, sunny, beautiful space for nurturing and play. The best part is that it's baby proof, so there's nothing within Bee's reach that can harm her and no reason for us to limit her access in the kitchen. I've written about baby proofing here and here. I believe that a safe place for a child to freely explore is an essential need, and it's one of the core values our home decorating and layout is based upon. 

In the kitchen, we've provided Bee with several areas of interest as well as eliminated some of the common kitchen dangers. We don't have anything dangerous in the bottom cabinets and we store our cleaners in a different room. This allows her to really get into everything and she spends so much of her day taking things out and putting them back - pots and pans are a favorite! So, let's take a closer look:

We've painted the outside of our pantry with a black chalk board paint and have given Bee her very own space to use for artistic expression. She delights in scribbling! When she's done, we put the chalk away inside the cabinet and out of her reach.

We have dedicated the bottom drawer in the refrigerator to provide her a space for healthy snacks that she's able to help herself to throughout the day. I try to prepare two options each morning for her to select from.

We purchased an inexpensive child table from ikea and it is the perfect spot for Bee to enjoy her snacks. I also found this beautiful child sized pitcher which I fill with water in the morning and place it on the table so that she's able to pour herself a drink throughout the day. She is becoming so great at pouring! 

Sometimes allowing a child to practice helping themselves means there are messes to clean up, and that's okay! It's all a learning process. 

I've hung a towel for spills at her level. She is not at a stage yet where she cleans up her own spills, but given the opportunity, she loves to help! 

This child set broom and mop set is another wonderful way to foster independence and encourage keeping a neat space I made the stand by cutting cardboard, wrapping it in wrapping paper, and taping magnets to the back. It works perfectly and looks great! 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Montessori in the kitchen

We are busy settling into our new home, and while we do I'd like to make a series of kitchen themed posts over the month of March - I hope you all enjoy them!

I know many parents, myself included, who struggle to find a balance between housework and parenting in their day. I have set up my kitchen to help with this challenge and I'm thrilled to share some of my strategies here. For Bee's first birthday, her father and I built her this great learning tower. These wonderful towers help put the child at counter height to foster their desire for independence, and it's enabling Bee to become quite the little helper! One of our favorite activities is preparing meals together.

Before I start, I'll clarify that this stove is not turned on, and the pan is not hot. We're using the pan as a large mixing bowl to prepare our lasagna in a crock pot. Look how thrilled Bee is to be included in this activity! By allowing her to help at meal time, I've been able to strike a balance between giving her the attention she requires and also cooking dinner.

This is the face of someone truly delighted in their work! Preparing meals is such a sensational task for toddlers. It allows them to mix, stir, pour, fill, empty, rinse, dry, taste, scoop, and more! 

Here she is taking advantage of the opportunity to taste new things - frozen spinach! I love the way that cooking together builds her sense of curiosity, she has such an inquisitive nature and really takes the time to inspect our ingredients.