On the Shelf: Food Preparation Mini-Series (2-6 years old)

Practical Life lessons include care of the self and care of the environment. The purpose of Practical Life lessons is to develop awareness towards physical movement, purposeful use of the mind, reverence towards the environment, and aesthetic appreciation. Food Preparation is such a fun area to teach many practical life skills. Food Prep is a big part of Practical Life Lessons. In the classroom, I would always have a food prep activity on the shelf rotating it every month by season or the unit study we are doing. However, at-home food prep lessons are always ongoing. My toddler loves to stand in his learning tower and help out while I am cooking. As much as I love doing that with my son, I also like to have some independent activities that he can gradually master and establish a sense of achievement.

Lessons of Food Prep include scooping, pouring, grating, washing dishes, setting the table, following step-by-step directions, cause and effect, problem-solving, and sharing the love of food.

Preparing your own breakfast

When children prepare their own food, they are more likely to try it and develop a healthy love for eating. Eating is a very social part of humans. We gather at the dining table at the end of the day not just to eat but to bond and involving children in the art of cooking is the best way to get them to form healthy habits.

This is just a mini-series of cooking for 2-6-year-old. There are so many ways you can get your child involved in the kitchen. These are some of the simple lessons to get you started if you haven’t done it already.

Pouring Milk (self-serve)

Strawberry Jelly Bread Flowers

Cooking is not just a practical life lesson but it is also preparation for developing a mathematical mind. When children finish a food prep activity they are actually following an algorithm. All the measuring and problem solving prepares their mind for complex mathematics later on. Thus, cooking has always been an integral part of the Montessori classroom and in our home.

Snack Prep. Cutting your own veggies

Citrus Tasting

When planning a food prep activity, it is important to follow the child. For a 2-year-old or younger these activities are guided lessons and require a lot of collaboration. As the child grows older, he or she can do these tasks with less guidance. However, it takes a lot of practice and supervision of parents to do some of these activities.

Banana Slicing for Breakfast

Coffee Grinding

These activities are deeply fulfilling for children. It develops their sense of self-achievement and nourishes’ inner drive towards self-empowerment.

Cinnamon & Nutmeg Grating

Egg slicing for Breakfast

As a part of Food Prep and developing independence, it is important to have a functional kitchen for your child. Functional Kitchen can help your child practice these activities independently such as setting the table, washing dishes, and putting away silverware. These are all part of food prep and are very important lessons to begin your food prep journey at home.

You can find some of the food prep items I use on my amazon account below.

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