In the Kitchen Together Feed

Making 🎃Pumpkin 🍪Cookies at 3 Yo

Fall harvest, hay rides, pumpkin picking, and, of course, children asked to make pumpkin 🍪cookies! Do you 🍴cook with your children? 👦🏼Adrian has been my little helper since he was two years old! And since he is not 📖 reading yet, I made this simple 📝 recipe with pictures of the ingredients and the quantity of each, so that Adrian can ✅check them off as he follows the steps. (You may download the 🎃Pumpkin 🍪Cookies recipe for your personal use here)


Did you know that children, starting at 15 months (and till about 6 years of age) have a sensitive period for 🙌🏻PRACTICAL LIFE activities, “having absorbed the world by an unconscious kind of intelligence, [a child] now ‘lays his hands’ to it...Now it is the ✋🏻hand as a ‘prehensile organ of the mind,’ not just the senses, that moves the child through a period of constructive ‘perfectionment’ – refining the acquisitions already made."– Dr. Maria Montessori.
DSC_0251Practical Life activities are one of the first lessons children are introduced to since these exercises are comforting due to its familiarity and relatable as the child sees us, adults, perform these activities that now the child will have the opportunity to participate in.
DSC_0251"The best instruction is that which uses the least words sufficient for the task."–  Maria Montessori, The Discovery of the Child

DSC_0251After adding an ingredient, Adrian would highlight it, checking it off.
DSC_0251Imitation is the first instinct of the awakening mind.”– Dr. Maria Montessori.
DSC_0251"Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed." —Maria Montessori.

The child is by nature a worker, and when, by working in this special fashion, which is according to his nature, he can accomplish a great deal of work without ever feeling fatigue. When he works in this way he shows himself to be happy and by working in this way he also becomes cured of certain psychic anomalies that he had, and by curing himself of these he enters into a more natural form of life. (Dr. Maria Montessori, 'Child’s Instinct to Work', AMI Communications, 1973, 4, 9.)

DSC_0251A true "hands-on" Practical Life experience!

DSC_0282-001“The child becomes a person through work.”  —Maria Montessori.

Here is what Dr. Montessori had to say about Practical Life Activities:

The children of three years of age in the ‘Children’s Houses’ learn and carry out such work as sweeping, dusting, making things tidy, setting the table for meals, waiting at table, washing the dishes, etc., and at the same time they learn to attend to their own personal needs, to wash themselves, to take showers, to comb their hair, to take a bath, to dress and undress themselves, to hang up their clothes in the wardrobe, or to put them in drawers, to polish their shoes. These exercises are part of the method of education, and do not depend on the social position of the pupils; even in the ‘Children’s Houses’ attended by rich children who are given every kind of assistance at home, and who are accustomed to being surrounded by a crowd of servants, take part in the exercises of practical life . This has a truly educational, not utilitarian purpose.” (From Childhood to Adolescence, p. 66)


The reaction of the children may be described as a "burst of independence" of all unnecessary assistance that suppresses their activity and prevents them from demonstrating their own capacities. It is just these "independent" children of ours who learn to write at the age of four and a half years, who learn to read spontaneously, and who amaze everyone by their progress in arithmetic.  These children seem to be precocious in their intellectual development and they demonstrate that while working harder than other children they do so without tiring themselves.  These children reveal to us the most vital need of their development, saying: 'Help me to do it alone!'" (Dr. Maria Montessori, 'From Childhood to Adolescence', Clio Press Ltd, 65).

DSC_0296-002 Adrian spontaneously decided to add shredded coconut.
DSC_0282-001"Follow the child," Dr. Montessori said, even if it goes against the recipe.
DSC_0282-001"Yum!" One cookie in each hand, just in case.

My advice is to start introducing Practical Life activities early, and you will be 😱amazed at the fortitude and desire these little people have to be a part of our 🌐world, to work side by side and emulate us, to become full citizens through work.

For more Fall activities, see here a round up of activities we have done during the months of September and October in a post "🍂Fall & 🎃Halloween Inspired Homeschooling 101 Unit Study." Or see here "🦃Thanksgiving Inspired Homeschooling 101 Unit Study." Also, you might want to see what we did that same year 🍁Fall 🎃 Inspired Activities for Children (2016).

🍁Fall 🎃 Inspired Activities for Children (2016)

Autumn is our favorite season! We love the vibrancy of deciduous trees as foliage changes color from green to golden-yellow to red. We love watching the leaves dance in the air as they gracefully fall on the ground, offering children a playground heaven to jump into! We love the cool crispness in the air during mornings and nights, while still enjoying the bright warm sun during the day. We love all the fun Fall inspired activities bring us: from going to the farm to pick berries, pumpkins or apples, to hay rides and corn mazes. The natural scenery is breathtaking, fireplaces are starting to burn, apple cider is being served, and anticipation of holidays fills us with much excitement. 

DSC_0015Our Fall-inspired area reflects our affection for Autumn.

DSC_0022Autumn-Inspired Practical Life shelves.

DSC_0092-001Shading over first Autumn leaves. (see here). 

DSC_0029Tweezing or Tonging corn kernel (see here). DSC_0065.JPGColoring with Pumpkins (see here). DSC_0002.JPGThe Cycle of an Apple and Apple Serving Activity (see here). 

DSC_04375 Layer "Pumpkin" Puzzle (see here). 

DSC_0462.JPGFall inspired Cutting with Scissors activity (see here). 

DSC_0486Counting with Fall leaves counters (see here ). 

DSC_0014.JPG  🎃Halloween 👻 Inspired 🙌🏻SENSORY BIN with a 🔢Math Twist (see here ).

DSC_0001.JPGFall Inspired Flower Arranging Activity (see here ). 

Fall & Halloween Inspired Tongs Transfering (see here). 





DSC_0039-001 Instg Adrian on a pumpkin fieldPumpkin picking at the farm (see here). 

DSC_0125See here  🎃Pumpkin and Squash to Montessori 3 Part 🔖Cards Matching.

  Below: Working with Alphabet Pattern Blocks: P is for Pumpkin.

DSC_0161 Level 1 (overlaying the template's image - matching magnets to the shape underneath).

DSC_0225.JPGLevel 2 (re-building the template's image on an empty magnetic board).

DSC_0176.JPGFall-Inspired Watercolor Art (see here).

DSC_0138.JPGLife Cycle of a Pumpkin (see here). Adrian at 36 months can independently match both: pictures and labels since the words are pretty simple. 


Fall Inspired Weighing Activity with Balance scales (see here).


See here "Making Teens with 🎃Pumpkin Counters (Montessori Math Intro to Teen Board)."

DSC_0282-001Making Pumpkin cookies (see here).

DSC_0297-001Thanksgiving Craft: Clay Turkey (see here). 

DSC_0257-001See here "🍂Fall and 🦃Thanksgiving Inspired 🐇🐿 Forest Animals 🙌 Sensory Bin.

DSC_0424.JPGFinally, see here Thanksgiving-Inspired pretend/role play with the Green Doll House.

For more on Thanksgiving-inspired activities, read here

For more on Autumn-themed activities, read here a roundup of all our activities we have done during the month of 🍂September and 🎃October: over 20 of them! arranged by the area of study in a post "🍂Fall & 🎃Halloween Inspired Homeschooling 101 Unit Study."

🙌🏻 Making Carrot 🍲Soup at 2.5 Yo

Food preparation is one of the areas of Practical Life Activities in Montessori education. Lessons in Practical Life teach a child the skills for practically everything in life. Child's quote "Teach me how to do it myself” is what Practical Life area is all about. Our role as an educator and a parent is to help a child learn to function in own environment and lay the foundation towards more advanced learning. Allowing a young child to "do it himself" can be hard for a parent, but in order for a child to build independence and body control, children need to be allowed to make a mistake: spilling and making a mess while trying a new task is all part of the process! It is when the child is guided to wipe the spill and pick what has fallen: his pride will blossom. What we can do is step back and give them a moment to figure it out, and only then their problem solving skills and independade will beging to develop. With Practical Life activities, a child will learn new skills, such as folding laundry or cutting own snack, and most importantly, complete the task in its entirety: from the beginning until the very end independently. (We call it a cycle of activity.) Will see Child's need for order and repetition (that is how they learn)

Adrian has been really enjoying cooking lately. He gets to work with me side-by-side, feeling important and useful. Today, he is making a carrot soup. 

DSC_0001.JPGAdrian brought a Carrot Peeling Activity from our Practical Life area (buy here).

DSC_0066Adrian is using a "Baking Apron" - buy here.
DSC_0001.JPG"I can do it myself!" Adrian says, and indeed he can!DSC_0001.JPGThe velcro makes the apron very child-friendly.

DSC_0013This Mini Veggies brush is a must for children and adults! (Buy here).

DSC_0013Deciding on what step in next develops problem-solving skills. IMG_0005With stiff bristles made of coir (coconut) fiber, this small, wood-handled brush is the perfect size for small hands and is great for scrubbing vegetables like carrots or potatoes.
DSC_0013Make sure you explain the child to peel away from the hand holding the carrot. DSC_0023Peel one - eat one.
DSC_0013Adrian did not stop until all the carrots were peeled!
DSC_0013Adrian prefers this wavy chopper to the one with the handle since it is easier to apply the pressure to it with both hands.

DSC_0028Carrots are ready to be cooked!
DSC_0028A little Himalayan salt.
DSC_0028Using induction cooktop (read more about it here).
DSC_0028Once carrots were cooked (in about 5 min), while saving some of the broth, Adrian added them to the food processor along with Locatelli cheese and olive oil.
DSC_0028I selected the pulse setting so that the toddler has more control of the speed of the food processor.

DSC_0066Adrian's favorite Montessori bib (hand-made from Tibet by Michael Olaf).
DSC_0066Yummy! Delicious and Nutritious!

"Julia always comes home hungry from school, so it will be a nice surprise for her!" Adrian said, and indeed it was!

Independence = confidence  "I can do it myself" = happy child = happy parent

It is in learning to do such mundane activities such as dressing, dusting, sweeping, preparing and serving food, and fixing or building-work that a child sees going on around him all day long-that he learns to use his body and mind for a purpose, to plan, to concentrate, to control his actions, to finish what he started. ... Allowing the child to participate in the daily work he sees going on around him is an act of great respect for, and confidence in, the child. It helps him to feel important to himself and those around him. He is needed. Child of the World by Susan Stephenson. 

For more on food prep, see here and 👇 🍒Cherry Pitting Activity • Practical Life 🙌 Activities 101🎥 Series 🎇. Also, see here Making 🎃Pumpkin 🍪Cookies. 

Two-and-a-half year old cooking Givech together with his sister: independently from start to finish

I am loving this age: when my children work, play, read, and cook together! Today, Adrian and Julia are making "givech" - my favorite dish, which is a caviar of mixed vegetables (what ever you have in your refrigerator) sauteed with onions and garlic. This dish is really simple, very delicious and super nutritious!



DSC_0095Montessori Toddler "Baking" Apron (the elastic neckband and velcro waistband allow independence for a child who does not know how to tie yet)

DSC_0103washing vegetable with a mini-vegetable brush 


DSC_0107Adrian is using a Carrot Peeling Activity

DSC_0107... while Julia is using a regular serrated knife to cut vegetables Adrian just cleaned

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After a tremendous research, we decided to purchase an Electric Induction Cooktop, which uses magnet sensors to determine which surface can be heated or not. The cooktop activates electronic heating elements only on contact with the same magnetic sensors present only in magnetic ferrous cookware. So, a towel (or a baking mitt) laying nearby will not heat up because the cooktop sensors will not recognize the surface of a towel (which is not magnetized) as "induction-compatible" and thus will NOT heat it up even if you turn that burner on. Children of any age still need supervision with ANY heating elements, but I trust that this cooktop is pretty safe to operate, and that was the main reason we decided to go with this new technology. As you see, Adrian has to turn the cooktop on, choose the burner and selects the desired temperature. 

DSC_0131The cookware has to be induction-capable, or the cooktop will not "recognize" pots and pans, and will not heat them up.


DSC_0143Adrian is using a wavy vegetable chopper - which is easier to press down into something hard, like a carrot.
DSC_0143Julia is using a regular serrated knife (purposefully not the sharpest in my collection :)

DSC_0150.JPGJulia is wearing an Apples and Pears Apron from Esty


DSC_0156here, Adrian is using a blunt-tipped Serrated Knife to cut an eggplant

DSC_0165child-sized wooden spatula
DSC_0165adding salt, garlic powder and Italian seasoning 
DSC_0165Basil from our "garden"

p.s. my secret recipe ingredient is adding ketchup and some brown sugar at the end. Lastly, squeeze some fresh garlic and let the dish stand (or you might want to skip the garlic the first time you introduce the dish, since not all children might like the fresh garlic taste (:

My children LOVE vegetables (in any form, in all forms:) but for those who have not acquired a taste for different vegetables yet, givech might be a good way to introduce such food since most likely, children will eat what they themselves have cooked, even if generally, the dish is not on the top of their menu list :)

I would love to hear what types of dishes your children cook.


Strawberries: from the garden to the plate

Today, we finally harvested from our "garden" our first strawberries for which Kids have been so patiently waiting for! There was so much excitement on Adrian's face when he saw within one week the white strawberry turning pink, and then eventually red :) He could not wait to show it to Julia and, of course, harvest it!

DSC_0070   DSC_0070 DSC_0280-001


"Yummy delicious!"

What about preparing a snack, independently at two and a half years, using a serrated knife and a fork? (Here is Adrian making his first banana snack  at about one year old.)

Strawberry Cutting Activity:



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DSC_0185.JPG DSC_0185.JPG

A Montessori Apron, the child should be able to put on independently, without assistance. 

DSC_0185.JPG DSC_0191.JPG
DSC_0185.JPG DSC_0193

DSC_0196All done and ready to cut!


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DSC_0217Using a tong to transfer cut strawberries into a bowl 

DSC_0217Enjoying own snack! 

A self-sufficient child - from the beginning to the end!

p.s. Here, Adrian is using other tongs to transfer strawberries. And here, he is Making a Smoothie to his sister