Toddler Tuesday: Kid-friendly kitchen

When I was first designing our kitchen, I knew I wanted to make sure it was kid-friendly. The biggest thing we did in that area was what we call the "Craig pantry." They are a set of shallow lower cabinets under our pot rack. 

The cabinet on the right holds canned goods and pasta which a shallow shelf is perfect for because things don't get lost back. But the one of the left is probably my favorite - it's Lucy's cabinet. 

The top two shelves are the ones she really uses. The white bins holds her silverware. We have this set but need to move up to this one. Then there is her utensil caddy which holds her mini whisks and spatulas although it looks a bit empty right now - she loves them and every time we mix something, she insists on using hers even though it isn't always very efficient to stir a double batch of pancake batter with a teenty tiny whisk. Below them are her mixing bowls - just the smallest two from a nesting set my mother-in-law gave us. These items pretty much stay in those places. 

The glasses are these Montessori weaning glasses but again, she is ready to move up to these. The bowls are pyrex custard cups that came with plastic lids - perfect for storing her uneaten yogurt or snack in the fridge for later. And her plates are just clear glass plates my mom had for when she hosted luncheons - she had about 50 so I "stole" 6. 

Lucy is responsible for keeping her pantry tidy and she does a good job. I didn't change anything when I took this picture. All the glass items tend to shuffle around since she is responsible for putting them away and she is often returning them to a empty shelf - but she does keep the bowls with the bowls and the glasses with the glasses, etc. And while you might think all the glass is dangerous but she has been using a glass cup since 6 months old and has only broken one glass and no plates or bowls so far. I wish I had that track record - I just broke a glass last night :-)

I take her dishes out of the dishwasher and stack them on the edge for her to put back on her shelf. She's been doing this for quite a while but until she was 2, it was optional. Now it isn't. Sometime she doesn't want to but I just remind her that it is her responsibility and we all help in our family and she's never really fussed after that (same thing with making her bed and putting her dirty clothes in the "dirty bin"). She also helps me unload the rest of the silverware which is nice since it lessens the amount of bending over I have to do. 

 The bottom holds wooden trays we use if we take our food outside for a picnic and some plastic stuff we use when other kids come over or for outside.

I also need to make room for a basket of kid-sized cloth napkins. She has just reached the stage where she wants to use a napkin instead of being attacked by a washcloth after every meal and depending on what we eat, that is normally a reasonable request. I just need to find the 10 minutes it will take me to sew up some. 

I've seen other Montessori toddler/preschool kitchen areas that have a dirty dish bin and sponge area but we didn't add that to her responsibilities until a month ago when we moved her from a high chair to a junior chair and she could get down on her own and now she is tall enough to put her dirty plate and glass on the counter after she is done with her meal so we do that instead. 

Putting together a kid-friendly kitchen took a little bit of planning but was well worth it. Lucy is able to be independent and I get some help that is actually helpful.

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