Montessori at home: 15 kid-friendly cooking projects

Even young children can help!

Montessori at home: 15 kid-friendly cooking projects

Preparing food is a big part of Montessori classrooms for young children, and for good reason. It helps develop independence and confidence as children see that they can make food for themselves. It also helps develop organizational skills, as things must be done in a certain order for a recipe to be successful. Measuring ingredients and deciphering recipes are also great ways to practice math and reading skills in a real life situation.

Even very young children can help with things like gathering ingredients, measuring and adding ingredients, mixing, scrubbing fruits and vegetables and cleaning up afterward. If your child enjoys helping in the kitchen though, you can take it so much further.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

1. Fresh orange juice

With citrus season in full swing, it’s a great time to break out the juicer. Using a small, simple juicer, children of two or three can be successful making fresh juice with a little help.

2. Baked oatmeal

If your child enjoys baking, preparing a baked oatmeal dish can be a great weekend morning activity. If your little one is anything like mine, he’ll be up bright and early, leaving plenty of time for the oatmeal to bake before everyone is ready for breakfast. There are so many wholesome recipes available, making it easy to find one your family will enjoy.

3. Homemade Granola

At its roots, granola is simple and healthy, made of oats, nuts, seeds and dried fruit. So many store-bought versions are loaded with sugar though. Making granola at home is super easy, not to mention cost-effective, and lets you control the ingredients. Even young children could make almost the whole recipe by themselves too, as it mostly involves adding ingredients to a big bowl and mixing.

4. Quiche

Quiche is a great thing to make with kids because beating eggs is a fun task that young children can do independently. They can use a small whisk or a hand mixer. Many children will also enjoy helping to wash and chop the vegetables. You can make the quiche lighter by using less cheese or omitting the crust if you wish to do so.

5. Fruit salad

Every child is different, but many children are ready to help chop things in the kitchen when they are around three to four years old. These wavy choppers are a great way to introduce chopping without involving sharp knives. Of course it’s still important to give a lesson on using the chopper safely and to supervise while your child is becoming comfortable with the tool. Protective gloves are also available when your child is ready to use a real knife.

A fruit salad is a great thing to make together as your little one practices his chopping skills. If he’s just beginning, you can assign him the easier fruits like bananas while you tackle the tougher ones like apples or grapes.

Alternatively, try fruit kebabs! Your child can help thread sliced fruit onto skewers for a tasty snack.

6. Vegetable soup

Making vegetable soup is another fun and healthy cooking project for children learning to chop. Soup recipes are so adaptable and hard to mess up and many children are much more interested in eating vegetables if they helped with the preparation.

7. Smoothies

Even many picky children love smoothies and it can be a tasty way to incorporate fruits (and vegetables!) into your child’s diet. Your child can help measure the ingredients and dump them into the blender. This is a great one for even the smallest chefs to help with.

8. Homemade crackers

If your child likes baking cookies with you, making healthy crackers together can be a fun twist on the activity. Some recipes simply involve spreading the dough on the pan and breaking into crackers after it bakes, while others let your child choose a fun cookie cutter to cut out shapes.

9. Kale chips

Even young toddlers can help tear kale leaves into little pieces and spread them on a cookie sheet. I love recipes like this for introducing kale to children who don’t yet have molars and can’t easily chew the raw leaves.

10. Homemade bread

Making bread is a little more involved, but it’s also a really fun thing for children to help with. If your child is too young to measure, you can pre-measure the ingredients and invite your child to help mix. Kneading the dough and watching it rise can be fascinating for children. Try this whole wheat version or gluten free option, depending on your family’s needs.

11. Pizza

If your child likes to help in the kitchen, having a weekly pizza night can be a really fun tradition. You can control the ingredients to make it a little healthier and kids can make their own individual pizzas and choose their toppings. Try using mini pizza pans and a kid-friendly pizza cutter to make it even more fun.

12. Veggie burgers

If you’re not comfortable with your child handling raw meat (so hard to keep those little fingers out of mouths…), making veggie burgers can be a fun way to get your child involved with the entrée. Mixing the ingredients and forming the burgers is really fun for children who enjoy getting messy. This is my personal favorite recipe, but there are so many to choose from!

13. Guacamole

Guacamole can be as simple as mashed avocado with a little lime juice and salt, or you can follow a more formal recipe. Either way, mashing avocado is a fun task for children to do, whether with a fork or with a mini potato masher.

14. Hummus

For a chunkier hummus, let your child mash some cooked chickpeas in a bowl and then stir in the other ingredients. For a smoother option, let them measure the ingredients and add them to the food processor.

15. Cutting herbs

If your child can safely use scissors, she can help you cut herbs. This is a great task to involve your child with while you’re making dinner, since you can throw fresh herbs on almost anything.

Once you start cooking with your child, you will see things they can help with every time you cook. This can be a great bonding experience and a wonderful way to make dinner time a little less stressful and a lot more fun.

Rarely is a woman more concerned with what her body needs than when she's pregnant. We start to question and research everything, right? From swearing off turkey sandwiches to diving down the rabbit hole of prenatal supplements that make up what we lack, the stress of overthinking is real, mama.

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They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.


Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!


Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.


Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.


Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.


Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.


Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.


Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.


Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.


Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.


Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.


Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.


Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.


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