kitchen

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.  

This page contains affiliate links.  We only link to items we love and would recommend. By clicking on the link, you are offered the same (or lower) price, and a small percentage of any purchase you make goes to us at TPE. We use these funds to help offset our costs and provide more value to you. Thanks in advance! 


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

Whisk 

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.  


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12-18 Months: Kitchen and Eating

12-18 months: kitchen and eating

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Around this age your child is most interested in helping and mimicking the activities she sees the adults doing in her home.  Take advantage of this interest by offering simple tools for independent activity like these below.  

In the kitchen, your 12-18 month old can help scrub hard fruits and vegetables with a stiff brush, mash bananas, tear lettuce, put boxes back in the pantry, and practice scooping rice or flour.  

She can work on skills like drinking from a real glass, using a spoon or fork, asking for more please, and climbing in and out of a highchair. 

This page contains affiliate links.  We only link to items we love and would recommend. By clicking on the link, you are offered the same (or lower) price, and a small percentage of any purchase you make goes to us at TPE. We use these funds to help offset our costs and provide more value to you. Thanks in advance! 


Kitchen Materials for 12-18 months

image from  For Small Hands .

image from For Small Hands.

My First Glass

Learning to drink from a real glass is a welcome challenge to the 12-18 month old.  Introduce the idea with tiny glasses like these from For Small Hands.  These are made of thick glass and hold just a few mouthfuls of liquid to make misses easier to clean-up.   I've also used these shot glasses from IKEA as a first glass in my toddler classes with success.

Scrub Brush

A short scrub brush like this one is perfect for small hands.  The palmer grasp on this handle (whole hand) helps build your child's hand strength and coordination, and can be used for the various other activities as she gets older.  I like the soft-yet-stiff bristles on this brush to remove dirt without scratching skin.  

Mixing Bowl

 A large metal mixing bowl is a must for this age.  I use a bowl like this for washing, scooping, and mixing activities with toddlers.  It's unbreakable, has a pleasant sound, and is light enough to be carried by a child.  You can substitute a plastic wash bin if you like.   

Tripp Trapp Highchair

For family meals, a highchair like this one is most convenient.  This  design from Tripp Trapp is one I recommend all the time for it's durability, independence, and long-term use.  The seat and foot shelves are fully adjustable, and allows your child to climb up herself.  Plus, the 5-point harness straps close in the front, so your child can learn to buckle herself in by herself.  

image from  For Small Hands .

image from For Small Hands.

Mini Masher

This little masher from For Small Hands is made from one piece of metal, which makes it less likely to break or bend.  It's a perfect size for toddlers to practice the hand movements involved in mashing (a larger tool would teach incorrect grip and build poor technique).  

Divided Bowls with Lids

Many children this age eat like tiny birds, just a handful of food at a time.  I find it really useful to pre-portion finger foods, yogurt, or snacks into divided plates like these and then snap the lid on whatever wasn't finished at meal time.  


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6-12 months: Kitchen and Eating

6-12 months: kitchen and eating

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Around the time your baby turns 6 months you can begin introducing other food to her.

Start with simple tastes of sweet things like fruit, and follow your child's interest. If you're already eating healthy whole-food meals, your baby can have some of the family dinner much of the time (follow a guidebook like Feeding the Whole Family for specifics to avoid) and a collection of finger foods for lunch and snacks.

Mobile babies need a safe space to explore in the kitchen too. Keep any heavy, breakable, or sharp objects out of reach and consider other safety concerns in your space. I suggest leaving a lower cabinet or shelf available with lightweight bowls, boxes, cups, and cooking tools for endless exploration.

This page contains affiliate links.  We only link to items we love and would recommend. By clicking on the link, you are offered the same (or lower) price, and a small percentage of any purchase you make goes to us at TPE. We use these funds to help offset our costs and provide more value to you. Thanks in advance! 


Kitchen Materials for 6-12 months

Silicone Bowl and Place mat

If your child is still in the "let's dump everything out" phase, an all-in-one place mat and bowl like this one is a great solution.  It removes the complexity of sliding and temptation to dump with a normal bowl.

Feeding the Whole Family

This is the best book I've found for walking through the weaning process AND offering practical recipes.  The first few chapters outline common allergies to avoid, balanced whole food nutrition, tips for raising healthy eaters.  I've used this book to cook for myself, and it really is a family friendly cookbook.  

Learning Tower

Once your child can pull up and stand on her own, she can "help" in the kitchen!  A tool like this learning tower makes it easy to offer independence and keep your infant safe.  Start by having your child watch and hold a (safe) kitchen tool, like a wooden spoon.  As her hands get stronger, she can hold objects under water, taste test, and wipe the counter. 

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Kitchen Safety

Like the other rooms in your home, your kitchen must be prepared to keep your curious mobile infant safe.  Put child locks on any lower cabinet with sharp or heavy objects, cover low electrical outlets, and get a tall trashcan with a lid.  We have these magnetic locks from Safety first in our home, and we love them.  Easy to open and relock, and no space for little fingers to get slammed.  

Feeding Spoons

When your child is ready to feed herself, get a set of these training spoons.  This clever design from Olababy will scoop food at various angles, stands upright for easier grabbing, has a thick stem for grasping, and is soft.  

These bamboo and silicone spoons are wonderful for adult-led eating.  The smaller spoon bowl fits easily into an infants mouth, and the soft silicone won't scratch or bump sensitive baby gums. 

image from  NaturaBaby

image from NaturaBaby

Weaning Table and Chair

A smaller table and chair offers your infant some independence in learning to eat solid foods.  I suggest starting with tastes of food here, and mostly finger foods.   This large and small set from NaturaBaby is so versatile.  Use it first like pictured as a weaning table and chair, then flip the table for two chairs when your child grows. 

Baby Food Storage

If you're making your own soft baby food from your family meals, a freezer mold like this one is super handy.  You can fill just a few cups at a time, then pop them out for easy storage and reheating.  The lid keeps freezer burn and other contaminants out.  Note, this works for freezing breast milk too! 

Bibs  

Bibs are a necessity as you introduce food to your infant.  Look for bibs that are water-resistant but still soft and flexible, like these pictured.  The bib should not get in the way of eating.  I like these fabric ones best because they can be quickly wiped off or washed.  


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