Montessori in the kitchen – 40 ideas for toddlers

What activities can your child do in the kitchen?

You may have observed that your little one is keen to participate when you are cooking or preparing food. But what can they do to help?

My children have always been keen to help me in the kitchen.

So here is a non-exhaustive list of what a toddler from around 15 months to 3 years can do in the kitchen. This is in no particular order – just observe your child and see what activities are fit for them. 

They can:

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  • empty the cutlery basket from the dishwasher (remove sharp knives first)

  • help to empty the dishwasher: start with plastic containers and cups then move on to more fragile dishes
  • set up the table: they can bring their own dishes and cutlery to the table then learn to set up the table with the help of a setting mat
  • pour a drink
  • cut soft vegetables and fruits. My favourite tool is the crinkle cutter. Buy it here

  • peel a banana or other easy-to-peel fruits such as satsumas
  • peel onions and garlic

  • chop onions
  • shred peppers and salad leaves
  • wash vegetables
  • scrub potatoes and carrots
  • peel carrots 
  • snap ends of french beans

  • oil a baking tray with a brush or a paper towel embedded with oil

  • prick dough with a fork

  • cut an apple with an apple-corer

  • mix dough

  • whisk eggs with a hand whisk

  • break an egg into a bowl


  • roll dough

  • cut shapes in dough to make cookies

  • shake spices over meals or sprinkle sugar over cake
  • peel a boiled egg

  • use a mortar and pestle


  • sieve flour

  • spread butter, jam, nut spread or hummus on bread/crackers. This works best on toast or thick crackers

  • add a toothpick to olives or to cherry tomatoes
  • make a fruit salad by combining already-cut fruits
  • press an orange to make juice

  • put already-cut fruits or vegetables in a blender to make a smoothie
  • put the filter and coffee in the coffee machine
  • grind coffee with a coffee grinder

  • scrape the leftovers from their plate into the bin
  • wipe down the table with a cloth
  • wash and dry the dishes
  • pick up fresh herbs from the garden
  • make pesto
  • make hummus
  • wear an apron
  • wash hands before and after cooking

Does your child help you in the kitchen? What do they like to do?

Are you going to try one of these activities?

Let me know!

Read more about Montessori in the kitchen here with our snack area and here with what knives to choose.

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About the Author Carine Robin

Carine Robin has a Master’s Degree in Psychology, specialising in child psychology. She worked for various social services in her home country of Belgium, before moving to Ireland in 2006. It was there that she started working in a nursery and discovered Montessori education. After having her first child, her passion for the philosophy grew and she qualified as a Montessori teacher and managed a preschool. Carine has been running a Montessori based parents and toddler group and coaching families for 9 years. She now also runs an online group for over 14000 parents, sharing her knowledge and passion with people from around the world. In 2018, Carine realised families needed more support and launched her popular online parenting courses and monthly subscription boxes, full of personally designed Montessori materials.