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  • Sarah N

Montessori Cooking for Young Kids- Review of The Independent Kids Cookbook

Our Experience with The Independent Kid Cookbook by Plenty of Trays

This morning I was admittedly distracted writing an important email while my kids played. I was aroused from my screen when my daughter asked me if I could please turn on the oven. I sprang out of my chair to discover my daughters, aged 5 and 6, had independently mixed up a batch of oatmeal cookies. The girls also had made a pot of tea and had poured everyone a cup using our tea set and had declared we were having a tea party. My mommy heart was just a little proud despite the little bit oatmeal on the floor that was later cleaned up quickly by a daughter with the cordless vacuum.

If you haven’t visited Plenty of Trays you may not have seen their The Independent Kid Cookbook, but you should definitely check it out! My kids and have really enjoyed having this book in our home. This is a digital product that I printed out and placed in a binder with plastic sleeves and put on the shelf in our kitchen for easy access. My kids have been cooking independently with its help ever since.

If you’ve done any reading about teaching kids, parenting or child development I can bet you’ve read something about the importance of getting your kids involved in the kitchen. Getting your kids in the kitchen can help them build confidence, develop reading and math skills, develop a healthy relationship with food, improves fine motor skills, and its is a fantastic opportunity to spend time together as a family. With this in mind, The Independent Kids Cookbook has been a tool that has helped our family get the kids into the kitchen more and it has definitely improved their confidence cooking.

What we love about the cookbook…

1. Step by step pictorial directions. The directions are easy to use and easy for even a non- reader to use with minimal support. My early readers can use it independently (with supervision using stove and oven obviously). Even my 2 year old gets the cookbook out and asks to make cookies, which with my help he feels like he can do.

2. Simple ingredients. All of the recipes use a short list of common ingredients. This makes the recipes easier for a young child to manage independently.

3. Savoury and sweet recipes. I love that book includes both sweet and savoury recipes. My 6 year old daughter has been able to make us dinner and lunch almost completely independently with the help of the savoury recipes. With the help of the sweet recipes, the girls also can make treats to have with tea.

4. Healthy, Gluten free. Most of the recipes in the cookbook are gluten free and are overall very healthy. The sweet recipes use honey or coconut sugar as sweetener and most of the recipes are flourless or can be easily adapted for gluten free diet. There are a lot of recipes that call for peanut butter which may be a consideration if you have nut allergy in your home.

We do prefer the doubled version of the cookbook as the original version makes very small batches and we have found this a little annoying with a family of 5 eating the results. I find it a lot more rewarding when the recipe makes enough to make any messes seem worth while, but the original book could be better with a younger child if you needed to limit amounts of ingredients available to him or her.

Thank you to Gabrielle at Plenty of Trays for creating this resource. My young children are benefiting from the ability to be able to cook on their own and are enjoying eating the food they can cook. I know the internal rewards and benefits are immeasurable when my five year old can say "I did it myself."

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