Our Montessori Kitchen

My husband and I have been trying very hard to make our kitchen into a space where we can all spend time, make food, and gather together. With 15-month-old Wilson as part of our family, this has made for a lot of trial and error. The space has to be clean, safe, and welcoming to someone who stands so close to the ground! Here is what we have done so far, if you'd like to see...

Entering the kitchen from the living space. Table and chairs on the left (I've been looking for that ball!), our island in the middle, and our fridge and cabinets to the right. For reference, the table is 16" high and fits Wilson quite well. We may even have to size up soon!

Entering the kitchen from the living space. Table and chairs on the left (I've been looking for that ball!), our island in the middle, and our fridge and cabinets to the right. For reference, the table is 16" high and fits Wilson quite well. We may even have to size up soon!

This is our IKEA hack learning tower. It's actually the MOLGER bath cart, which we altered simply by installing the top shelf on its side instead of parallel to the ground. It's small-great for a toddler and takes up less space-but only time will tell how well it holds up! Offering a learning tower is definitely a work in progress, but Wilson is slowly learning how to get in and out safely. He can reach the sink to wash his hands, stand and watch me prepare his meals, and even help with some food prep (so far he has sliced bananas and plucked basil leaves). When we're not using it, I wheel it into our bedroom or behind the fridge for safety's sake.

This is our IKEA hack learning tower. It's actually the MOLGER bath cart, which we altered simply by installing the top shelf on its side instead of parallel to the ground. It's small-great for a toddler and takes up less space-but only time will tell how well it holds up! Offering a learning tower is definitely a work in progress, but Wilson is slowly learning how to get in and out safely. He can reach the sink to wash his hands, stand and watch me prepare his meals, and even help with some food prep (so far he has sliced bananas and plucked basil leaves). When we're not using it, I wheel it into our bedroom or behind the fridge for safety's sake.

Closeups of our island. It has a lot of open storage for pots, pans, and bowls, which was fantastic before we had a toddler! Now, to protect Wilson's toes, the floor, and our cookware, we've attached these canvas panels to keep things covered. It's working really well, and the hooks and grommets make it easy for us to access what we need. I've left some of the island open so that we have a shelf for Wilson's plate and utensils. 

Closeups of our island. It has a lot of open storage for pots, pans, and bowls, which was fantastic before we had a toddler! Now, to protect Wilson's toes, the floor, and our cookware, we've attached these canvas panels to keep things covered. It's working really well, and the hooks and grommets make it easy for us to access what we need. I've left some of the island open so that we have a shelf for Wilson's plate and utensils. 

We also made the decision to lock all of the lower cabinets and drawers. Originally, we had left a few for Wilson to access, but we started to worry about the wear and tear (since we rent our apartment). These very small changes have made our kitchen a much happier, less stressful place. There are still things that we have to set firm boundaries around. The garbage and recycling, for example-I've found Wilson's plate in there a few times! I'd also love to add some more Montessori elements as time goes on: a place for Wilson to serve himself water and an area for a child-sized dustpan and broom are at the top of my list. What challenges have you found when working in the kitchen with your young child? I'd love to hear!

Helping Dad make pesto. 

Helping Dad make pesto. 

Having lunch. We also have a high chair for Wilson, which we use for dinner (when we are more likely to all eat together).

Having lunch. We also have a high chair for Wilson, which we use for dinner (when we are more likely to all eat together).