Sharing our kitchen setup for our toddler.
My mom bought the Ikea Play Kitchen for my son, and we have turned it into a functioning one!
I put it right beside our home’s actual kitchen. Our kitchen has no more space for my toddler’s child-sized kitchen, but we also use that kitchen by placing a stool if he wants to work on our counters. He just keeps moving that stool around to get what he needs. When it comes to cooking (he cooks eggs), he uses the stool to cook from our stove.
But having his own, child-sized table has also really helped him with independence making his snack, washing fruits, etc. Many times, I would watch him get a fruit from the fridge, bring it over to his kitchen, and cut it with his knife, or peel and prepare. (Check out what knives we use HERE).
What’s important in setting up your child’s own kitchen/ kitchen area is knowing your child’s skills, and making them your priority. Putting items they cannot yet use or operate might only frustrate your child. The goal of placing an area for them is to really encourage their independence, so they can work without much interference from us adults.
Here’s how I fixed ours:
This setup wasn’t done all in one day. I kept editing depending on what I observed from my child. For example, I observed that whenever he would work here, he’d rather put his snack on our dining bench (use it as table) than go up his chair and eat from the table. So I added this child-sized folding table and it was a gamechanger.
At first, we only had a water container so he can get water. But sometimes, he likes playing with water. So I put a tub underneath so the water goes there, and then we just use it for other things (to wash the bathroom, flush the toilet, water plants, etc).
I also added a small trash can so he will not forget to throw since our kitchen trash can is not within this area.
This is the placemat I use for his snack table – I just asked my husband to make a template for standard-sized paper so I could easily laminate it. This placemat helps him figure out where to put his utensils and snack plate/ bowl.
These are the things you’ll find inside:
Upper left corner: snack bowls and plates, small pitcher, mortar and pestle
Upper right corner: measuring spoons which he uses for scooping, colander, citrus squeezer, banana slicer
Lower left corner: cups, utensils
Lower right corner: knives, strainers, extra towel
And on his counter, you will find:
A tiny chopping board (also a large one to cover the original part of this play kitchen – a play stove), dish rack, handsoap, sponge, and scooper with container for the soap we use for washing fruits and vegetables (or baking soda).
We use the tiny play sink to wash fruits and vegetables.
That’s what we have for now, and for sure, this will keep changing as his needs and skills change.
It’s so exciting to watch a child’s growing independence in the kitchen. From helping us out with simple tasks to cooking and baking eventually, and as Maria Montessori said, working as if we did not exist.
Hope you find some inspiration here to create your child’s own kitchen space at home! Would love to hear your ideas and suggestions, too!