Friday, 8 July 2011

Organizing the kitchen part 2 - The table setting area

français au bas

This kitchen re-organization almost took me all weekend. Not because it was really long per se, or I had loads to do, but because thinking it and making it actually happen was a bit more challenging. I remember the time when I had to design a space for one kid, how easy it was. But now with 3, I really need to make my little grey cells work more to make something that fills everybody's needs.

There were many constraint in creating the kids kitchen corners:
  • the fact that E is more and more on his feet and is also able to open drawers, so fragile or dangerous things need to be out of his reach
  • the fact that X is wanting more and more to be independent in the kitchen
  • X is bigger then M, so I needed to be able to put things in a spot they both can reach
  • the size of my kitchen
  • the number of drawers and cupboards in the said kitchen...
And there were loads of things I wanted in creating this. The criteria were:
  1. help E become acquainted in the kitchen, and have his basic things available to him.
  2. have a space that would hold all the necessities to make a snack or a light lunch, and since this place was to have dangerous material for a younger child, it needed to be out of his reach
  3. have a space where all the material to set a table would be
  4. every item should be easily accessible and "seeable" and within reach of the person concerned
Before going on, I need to say that we are not trying to segregate our kid's stuff vs our stuff here. Our purpose is to make sure that the kitchen is adapted to our children until they are able to function as we do in there. This is why there are not that many snacks available to them, or fruit bowl especially for them, since they are within their reach already. Same holds true for kitchen items. We are providing them with smaller size utensils and plates until they are big enough to use our standard size plates. I see X going frequently to the regular cupboard to get the things he needs, where as M is too small still.

ok, back to the planning...

Needless to say, it would have been easier if I had 3 kitchens or at least 3 spare drawers to work with. But since this was not the case, I had to work with what I had: one shelf, and one drawer

I started by trying to put the snack prep area (with the snack boxes) in the food pantry (where the available shelve is). It was just logical to put the snacks with the rest of our food. But it just didn't work. I multiplied the ways to organized things in there, but I just couldn't make it work . It took me all weekend to try one thing, and then try another one, until I finally manage to think outside the box, and find the solution. Swaping the snack and dishes area. And voilà. It is all I needed to do


On the left, a tray to carry items to the table, and then paper napkins and placemat behind (no, they currently don't match ...). IN the back there is a bigger size pitcher. This is the one we use to use before I found the smaller ones you can see. I still left it there because it is the right size for X now.

Then we have small size pitchers to serve water or juice, with glasses that are perfect for a child's hand. Even E can use those. And finally on the right size, small size bowls and plate, and in the back, cereal bowls (they like to start their day with a cheery bowl)

a word on kitchen material for kids.

Montessori services and many other Montessori store have absolutely wonderful material for children. They are perfectly sized and well made. But do not underestimate your local kitchen or dollar store.
I have been on the lookout forever for a child friendly size pitcher. And after 1 year more of searching, 3 of them came up at my local kitchen store. They were 2,50 each. They contain 600ml, and I just love them. Perfect size, pours wonderfully, and sturdy. Same for glasses, I found them for 35 cents. They are gin glasses. The bowls are small serving bowls, and the plates are tiny plates for bread and butter service. Just think outside the box, and you won't need to pay a lot to find things that are suited for your children.

L'organisation de la cuisine m'a pris pratiquement tout le weekend. Pas parce que ça demandait
beaucoup de travail, mais parce qu'il y avait beaucoup de contraintes à prendre en considération. Je me rappelle du temps où je n'avais qu'à organiser pour un enfant. Maintenant, avec 3, d'âge différent, l'organization demande un peu plus de travail à mes petites cellules grises.

Voici les contraintes que j'avais:
  • Le fait que E est de plus en plus toujours sur ses peids, et qu'il est capable d'ouvrir les tiroirs. Les choses fragiles ou dangereuse devaient de plus être à se portée
  • le fait que X veut être de plus en plus indépendant dans la cuisine
  • X est beaucoup plus grand que M, donc je devais trouver un espace qu'il peuvent joindre tout les 2, mais pas E
  • La grosseur de ma cuisine,
  • et le nombre restreint de panneaux...

Les critères de créations:
  1. Aide E à devenir familier dans la cuisine et l'aider a acquérir de l'indépendance en lui donnant accès à ses choses
  2. Avoir un espace contenant tout les outils nécessaires pour se préparer une collation ou un petit gouter, et que cet espace ne soit pas atteignable pour E
  3. Avoir un espace contenant tout le matériel nécessaire pour mettre la table
  4. Qu'à chaque fois tout le matériel soit visible et facile a prendre pour les personnes concernées
Avant de continuer, je dois dire que notre but n,est pas de séparer les choses des enfants des notre, mais bien de leur fournir les outils et espaces nécessaires jusqu'à ce qu'ils soient en mesure de fonctionner comme nous dans la cuisine.

De retour à l'organisation...

J'ai pris out le week end pour tourner et retourner les choses, je n'arrivais pas à faire fonctionner les espaces à mon goût, jusqu'à ce que je réussisse à penser autrement, et arriver à la solution

voir images

Les assiettes et verres sont dans le garde manger. C'était l'endroit le plus pratique pour les mettre.
De gauche à droite:
plateau pour transport de matériel, serviettes de table et napperons, broc (tout neuf, je les adores!) de 600ml, et verres pour le service des boissons, et finalement, bols et assiettes.

Un mot sur le matériel de cuisine. Il existe des tonnes de boutiques Montessori qui vendent des trucs vraiment extras pour les enfants. Mais ne sous estimez pas vos boutique de cuisine locales. Si vous regardez bien, elles regorgent de matériel qui peuvent être utilisés parfaitement pour les enfants:
Les verres sont des verres à gin, les assiettes, des assiettes a beurre. Les bols colorés dans le fond (pour les céréales du matin) des bol a tapas. Tout ces produits m'ont pratiquement rien couté, et je n'avais pas de frais de port...


  1. Beautiful! Eva's has a shelf across from her table in the dinning room that is dedicated to bibs and hand towels (we don't have sponges yet) and I've been thinking that she'll be ready for her own kitchen shelf in a few months not that she's getting her walking skills down. She loves the challenge of walking while carrying something but after a few steps she falls. Walking is more of a hobby for her right now instead of a reliable function.

  2. I stumbled on your blog this morning, as I'm prepping for a post on new practical life skills that I can add in to our curriculum.

    What a wonderful resource... I've thoroughly enjoyed reading this morning, and I look forward to reading more (I'm your newest follower!)

  3. Charissa, thank you. I'll be showing my youngest's shelves today, so stay tuned. Enjoy this time of practicing walking and give her loads of opportunity to do so. I love this stage so much, they ooze independence then!

    Leann: Welcome! :) and thank you

  4. This is so beautiful! What a wonderful area for independence :) We have those pitchers, too. We have some in the refrigerator for milk and fresh squeezed juice.

  5. Awesome info and pics, thanks for sharing! Where did you get the pitchers?