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Portioning Nuts

Sweet Pea is 37 months old.

From: I love these Emerald Cocoa Roast Almonds and I bought a huge tub of them from Sam’s Club.  However, if I let myself eat them straight out of the jar, I could devour my entire days worth of calories in one sitting.  Faced with such a temptation, I wanted to portion the nuts out ahead of time and put each serving in an individual baggie.  While I was making up a set of almond baggies, it occurred to me that Sweet Pea could help me with the task.


  • A large quantity of almonds (or any other non-fragile, non-perishable food items.  I think nuts, pretzels, jelly beans, m&m, etc would all work well.)
  • An ice cube tray that will hold the correct number of items for each portion.
  • Several baggies or small Gladware tubs to hold each portion.


  • Assemble all your materials and sit next to your tot.
  • Tell your tot that they are going to be making up serving size containers of the almonds.
  • Take one almond out of the large tub and put it in the first empty space in the ice cube tray as you say, “I am putting 1 almond in each empty space.”
  • Continue putting one almond into each space on the ice cube tray.  Let your tot take over if they want to help.   Pay close attention at first to prevent your tot from doubling up in any of the spaces.

  • When all of the spaces are filled say, “Now we are going to put these all in a baggie.”  Open a baggie and take each almond out of the ice cube tray and put it into the baggie.

  • When all of the nuts are in the baggie, place it on it’s side, hold it down with one hand and run your fingertip along the edge to seal it.
  • Let your tot help whenever they are ready.

Observations: This wasn’t Sweet Pea’s favorite activity, but she did work on it for quite a while.  I was impressed by how many bags of nuts she was able to complete (maybe 10 or 15) before she got board.

I really like trying to find meaningful work for Sweet Pea to do around the house and I think this activity really qualifies.  She has often seen me grab these snack bags when we are headed out the door and loved being able to help me make them.

Notes from the Trenches:

  1. Be cautious if you use nuts or other items that your tot could choke on.  I have often read that children under the age of 5 should not eat whole nuts because of the choking hazard.  I don’t let Sweet Pea eat these almonds.
  2. I didn’t expect Sweet Pea to be able to seal the baggies, but she was surprisingly skilled at it.  Despite that, I discovered the hard way that some of the baggies weren’t totally sealed so I had to “reseal” all of them.

Rating: 4 Stars * (Fun, Easy, Independent, Frugal – If it is something you would be doing anyway.)

Carnivals: This post is linked at One Hook Wonder’s weekly Montessori Monday and Mommy Moment’s  Montessori Moment.  Take a look at those sites for other great Montessori ideas.

3 comments to Portioning Nuts

  • Danielle

    It seems like this could evolve into a muffin tin activity, where they’d need to put X almonds (or whatnot) into each cup. Actually, now that I’m thinking about it, it’s probably a better multiplication/division visual, since I’m pretty sure my son would ask why we were separating the nuts into the muffin tin instead of putting them directly into baggies. Because he’s a punk 🙂

  • Wow – I’m so impressed she did that many bags! This is a great example that you don’t have to have expensive materials to do Montessori. Thanks for linking up to Montessori Monday!

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