When we do a kitchen activity, like making a smoothie with a toddler, we introduce them to new language. We are exposing them to the words for the ingredients and the tools we use. And, we are exposing them to the names of concepts, such as measuring, pouring, mixing -- and inevitably, wiping up spills.
In addition to the language benefits, working together in the kitchen invites the practice of transferring activities that build wrist strength and coordination. This fine motor activity will allow our little ones to perform increasingly more sophisticated cooking tasks over time.
Watch the video below for a toddler-friendly smoothie recipe and tips on preparing the environment for your child to help make the smoothie.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Nic3jFCPQ8
- orange juice
- ice cubes
- child-sized pitcher (helpful for enabling child to pour)
- spoon or small rubber spatula
- small containers for mise en place*
Preparing the environment
*Mise en place means "everything in its place". It's a french cooking term and it aligns nicely with the Montessori approach to the adult's role of preparing the environment.
With everything in its place before you begin a kitchen activity, a child can independently add ingredients together.
As your child's attention span grows and their ability to carry out multiple steps increases with practice, you can do less setting up and include them in more of the process. For example, retrieving strawberries from a container, washing them, and removing the stems will add another level of detail to making a smoothie.