18-24 Months: Kitchen

18-24 months: Kitchen and Eating

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With newfound balance and strength, your child can really start participating in preparing food, setting the table, and cleaning up. 

This is an excellent time to introduce a few simple (practice) practical life activities with 2-3 steps, and designate a drawer, shelf or box for your child's kitchen tools.  

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kitchen Materials for 18-24 months

Crinkle Knife and Cutting Board

This is my favorite first knife.  It's a real tool and can cut most foods, but is blunt to the touch and won't cut your child's fingers.  A great tool to learn the habits of safe knife use.  Make sure you get a smaller cutting board too! 

image from  For Small Hands

image from For Small Hands


This bouncy spring-style whisk is easier to use than a traditional whisk, and is a great introduction to learning the skill is whisking.  I start with an inch or two of water in a stainless steel basin and 3 drops of dish soap, then progress to whisking food.  Find this whisk and other smaller kitchen tools on  For Small Hands.    

image from  For Small Hands

image from For Small Hands

Child-sized utensils

Real silverware and real plates demonstrate trust, encourage care and responsibility, and offer your child a sense of prideful ownership.  This toddler-sized set of utensils are from For Small Hands, and feature blunt tines and a slightly smaller size than their child utensil set.  

Dustpan and Brush

This smaller set from OXO is my favorite first dustpan and brush. The bucket style dustpan helps keep dirt in place all the way to the trash can, and the side handle on the brush is easier for toddlers' hands.   

image from  Duralex

image from Duralex

Child-sized Place Setting

Yes, these are glass, and yes you can expect your child to break something.  Offering real glassware to your child demonstrates trust and encourages care and responsibility.  

When your child breaks one of HER glasses, it will have a bigger impact than you saying "be careful!" ever will.   I like this glass set from Duralex for this age because it is truly durable and quite forgiving.  They have a handful of other styles if this one doesn't suit your taste.  

image from  Handmade Montessori

Place Mat

This washable place mat from Handmade Montessori offers a clear model of exactly how to set your place, all without you saying a word!  These are used in the Montessori Young Child communities to offer independence and teach placesetting.  Use this placemat with child-sized utensils and tableware to help your child learn this same skill.  

image from  Handmade Montessori

Toddler-sized Apron

There are thankfully lots of places to buy a child-sized apron now, but finding one that a toddler can independently use is still a challenge.  This is my favourite design; a full front and half-back secured by elastic on the sides.  Easy to pull over your own head, and no snaps, ties, buttons, to strings to get in the way.  This apron from Handmade Montessori has the bonus of vinyl-coated cotton fabric which makes it easy to wipe clean.