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Toddler Nooks III: In the Kitchen

March 17, 2011

This past weekend while sending photos to family, I noticed it may appear that we do nothing but bake, eat, and paint all day.  (Some days I guess we do.)  Like many other families, we spend a lot of time in the kitchen.  For much of O’s mobile life, our kitchen has been an “off limits” place.  I never felt like we could make the kitchen safe enough to have O in there with us.

Kneading Bread Dough

Mealtimes are such an important part of family life…  How could we possibly keep our son out of the kitchen?  We couldn’t.  So, rather than focusing on how the kitchen could be potentially dangerous, we started focusing on how it could function differently, in a way that meets everyone’s needs while keeping little O safe at the same time.  The day we made sure the cabinets were child-proof and put the baby gate in the closet was a good day.

~ The Learning Tower ~ I love this photo! ~

O’s Learning Tower has been our biggest splurge in our adventures in creating a child-friendly home.  I have to tell you, we love it and so does O.  It’s extremely well-made and the design is sheer brilliance.  O can get in and out of it independently and most importantly, it gives him the opportunity to experience and participate in the world on our level.  I’d hate to have to stare at knees and kitchen cabinets all day!  Wouldn’t you?

O’s Cleaning Station

This is O’s apron and broom/mop area.  He wears the polka dot apron for food preparation and the denim one for crafts.  The hooks are low so he can access and put away whatever he needs without assistance.  O loves having real tools so that he can work right along side us while sweeping or mopping the floors.  The rings holding his child-size broom and mop easily release upon lifting and O has no trouble operating them at all.

Snack Jar

Another small change that has made a big difference in our kitchen harmony is this snack jar.  We all know toddlers like to much all day long.  While we do have a predictable rhythm of meal and snacktimes, we’ve found that O also enjoys being able to help himself to a small treat should the mood strike him.  I put a couple of small items in the jar each morning and O can help himself (with great pride, I might add).  Sometimes he doesn’t touch the snack jar.  Sometimes he gobbles everything up right after breakfast.  Either way, I don’t refill it until the next morning.

Notes:

  • O is never in the kitchen alone.
  • We’ve made it very clear that the oven and other appliances are not for children.
  • We have one low cabinet unlocked so that O can play with various mixing bowls kept there.

Also, not because I want to encourage you to spend money but because someone will likely ask…

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Katie permalink
    March 17, 2011 9:00 am

    so cute!!! I love your entries that are like this :D I am going to try to make our kitchen in the next place more accessible to D and the other little one. Em can pretty much reach everything but I love your idea of the cleaning area, and DEFINITELY the snack jar! D will thank you for that one i’m sure :p

  2. March 17, 2011 10:45 am

    I’ve made all our lower cabinets stuff that the kids could pull out and not mess up. Our dishes and glass is up higher. I really love that picture of O on the leaning tower. LOVE his outfit, you dress him so cute! Did you make his pants?

    • March 17, 2011 4:59 pm

      Katie (comment above yours!) made O’s longies as part of a knitting swap we did last Fall. We love them and he wears them often! (He’s actually in his pjs in that photo. ;) )

  3. Kelli permalink
    March 18, 2011 1:16 am

    This series is wonderful! We’ve got a curious and VERY active 18 mo. old boy on our hands; and I’m always trying to find new ways to keep him a part of our lives, but still safe and learning. I was wondering…how old is little O?

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