Since it has started warming up, Luke (4) and Lilah (2) have been asking me to give them water to drink all. the. time! Ordinarily they aren’t big drinkers, usually drinking only at meal and snack times. When we are out and about, we use Klean Kanteen stainless steel water bottles which hold a decent amount, but at home, we use kid-size glasses, and they can polish off a glass of water and want a refill or two within minutes. I thought it’d be really nice for all of us if we switched to more of a Montessori style, serve-yourself, independent water station system when it came to water.
Montessori-inspired Self-Service Water Station for Kids
So, I started thinking. We have a water dispenser on the refrigerator, but it is INSIDE the door and higher than their heads, so that wasn’t a great option. Refilling at the kitchen sink would involve the kids moving our anti-fatigue kitchen mat out of the way, pushing the learning tower over there, and climbing up and down on the learning tower (pretty high) with a glass in their hands. Also, not the best option. Leaving a pitcher of water on the table would work great except that any pitcher with enough volume to hold them over for a few hours would be too heavy for them to lift and pour from without making huge messes.
So, yesterday, after some Facebook discussion with my awesome readers, some IM’ing with my dear husband, and a little online research, I forwarded DH a 20%-off Bed, Bath, & Beyond coupon and he came home with water dispenser:
Now, ordinarily I would have wanted a glass dispenser since we try to avoid most plastics in the kitchen, but with L&L pulling on the handle of a contraption which is large, heavy, higher than their heads, and perched on the edge of a table, I figured BPA-free plastic was going to be a safer choice. 🙂
If you’re looking for a smaller or cheaper dispenser, one reader on Facebook said they have BPA-free lemonade jars with spouts in spring colors at Walmart right now for ~$5, so there’s another option. 🙂
Setting Up our Water Station
We washed our new drink dispenser and filled it with water last night before bed to let the kids practice. I modeled how to fill a cup while the kids watched and then let them practice several times. We watered our newly potted plants with the water instead of just dumping it out! Lilah made a few dribbles and spills while filling her cup, but we keep clean-up cloths in baskets within easy reach and she cleaned up her mistakes.
Practicing last night showed me Lilah wasn’t quite tall enough to do it with ease (hence the dribbles!), so this morning I added one of our little stools from Ikea to the setup and that made it perfect!
I put the kids’ drinking glasses on a pull-out shelf in a lower cabinet right beside where we put the water dispenser. If you’re interested, here are Lilah’s ~3-1/2 oz. glasses. Here are Luke’s 5-3/4 oz. glasses. Lilah is just starting to transition to using Luke’s glasses now. We started both of them with the smaller version first, from around 18 months old.
To make this a little more special, my plan is to sometimes add fresh/frozen fruit to the water. Today we added organic strawberries because we have TONS of them we put up in the freezer! I let them defrost in the fridge overnight first.
We also bought some organic lemons and oranges to try later in the week. It didn’t take long at all for our water to start tasting like the strawberries. So good and refreshing! Others on my Facebook page also suggested that cucumbers and pineapples make refreshing fruit-infused water…separately, of course! 🙂
Our particular drink dispenser has a basket for the fruit you want to infuse, but I’m sure you could just throw it in to a normal dispenser loosely and it’d work fine, too.
Using the Water Station
We’ve only had our water dispenser set-up for a few hours now, but L&L have already filled their glasses at least 3 times each, with NO spills at all! I’m so glad we practiced last night!!!
Here are a few more pics of subsequent water refills:
I love that this setup is going to give L&L another avenue for independence and fine motor practice! I’m hoping I’ll get back to drinking more water, too, as I have been on quite the coffee and tea kick lately. I figure this dispenser will be great for any birthday parties we might host in the future, too!
Have you created a Montessori inspired self-service water station in your home or classroom?
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