L loves to eat! So far, she is pretty good about tasting lots of different things — knock on wood, right? I have found that allowing L to take part in preparing foods makes her more likely to try new things. As I’ve written before when sharing about L’s helper tower, there have been many times when L is reluctant to try a new food at dinner, but when I let her help prepare it in her tower, she gobbles it up!
One of the most popular works on Montessori practical life shelves are food prep works. In a classroom, you would have several of these works out at once, each with a different food. I knew if I were to do that at home, L would just be eating all day! So I just have one food prep work out at a time. What you put out can vary based on what’s in season and what you picked up at the grocery store that week.
The first food prep work I put out is food scrubbing using nectarines. I set up a plastic tray with high sides to prevent messes. I filled a small squirt bottle with water, put a scrub brush in a small bowl, and put a nectarine on a plate. L was so excited to find this work on the shelf! She carried it (“Slowly!”) to the table and looked at me expectantly. I showed her how to spray the nectarine with the water and scrub it with the brush.
L was content to clean it several different times throughout the morning before she wanted to eat it, which really surprised me. When she finished eating the nectarine, she put the pit in the garbage can and returned the work to the shelf. I did not replace the nectarine until the afternoon. This work allows L to develop her independence and fine motor skills, as well as providing the sensory experience of trying new foods.