Serve-yourself snack gives you more freedom

In the Montessori classroom we have a LOT going on. Twenty-four kids are doing individual and group activities, the head teacher is demonstrating activities, and the assistant teacher is available to help kids when they need a hand.

So, when it comes to serving snack, the more the kids can help themselves, the better. This is true at home too. I mean, how many times have you been happily folding a load of laundry when your three year old whines, “Mommy, I’m huuuunnggrryyy.”

Here’s the solution! If you put out the necessary ingredients for a healthy snack on a child-sized table at say 9am every morning (or at 3pm if your kids are more hungry in the afternoon) your children can serve themselves whenever they’re hungry. This promotes independence while ensuring that your kids are eating a nutritious snack AND you don’t have to get up from your own work to serve them.

Here are some snacks that I’ve seen work well for 3, 4, and 5 year olds:

  1. Cheese and crackers
  2. Peanut or other nut butters with crackers
  3. “Ants on a log” Celery with peanut butter and raisins
  4. Carrot sticks with dip
  5. Apples- you can provide a whole apple with an apple slicer or slice the apple for your child.
  6. Granola
  7. Rice and beans w/ salsa
  8. Rice with soy sauce
  9. Cucumber slices
  10. Fruit salad
  11. Strawberries and shortcake

The trick is to set up the snack in a pleasing way providing everything they’ll need to grab a plate and napkin, serve themselves, sit down an eat, and then clean up after themselves. You may also want to include cups and a small pitcher of water, milk, or juice.

So, for granola for instance, I would put a few cups of granola in a bowl and provide a spoon or measuring cup to scoop the granola into their own bowl. I might even provide a small pitcher of milk and some spoons so they can eat it like cereal.

If you have a few children and you don’t want one kid to eat all of the snack you’ve provided, make a sign with words (for readers) or pictures (for pre-readers) indicating how much to take. So for apple slices you might draw three apple slices and 3 crackers and ask each child to take just three slices and three crackers. This not only ensures that everyone gets their share, it also promotes responsibility and community mindedness. And if anyone takes more than their allotted snack, you’re sure to hear about it.

The other benefit to choosing a single snack for the day and making it accessible is that you don’t have to make a different snack for each child. I know you’ve been there. You’ve just finished cutting a pear for your 18 month old and your 3 year old comes running in saying- “Mommy, can I have pizza for snack?” If there’s just one snack each day, kids can easily fall into the routine of accepting what’s offered.

I would love to hear about how you do snack time at your house and whether you think providing snacks in this way would free you up to do other things. Post your thoughts here.


i tink you guys are great for letting me know how to make a small easy snack.!
thank you...

Executive Resume Writer
Executive Resume Writer


Good topic. You're right. The best thing to do is leave the healthy snacks out.

I work from home and sometimes it's easier to give a handful of pretzels than to cut up an apple. I need to prepare ahead of time for the day. I think I will copy this list and hang it on my fridge as a reminder.

Thanks for the tips. :)

Erin Kennedy
Professional Resume Services


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