20 Great Tips for Cooking with Toddlers
It’s not uncommon for parents to shy away from having their little ones heavily involved in the kitchen, whether it’s because they’re afraid of them hurting themselves or simply because they dread the impending mess that can result. However, there are plenty of ways to get your toddlers into the kitchen and cooking with you while building their self confidence and causing your “pride-ometer” to rise.
If you are a little unsure, start with one thing and build up from there. It’s not a mad rush, you can implement one thing, then do another in a few days, and work your way up to more kitchen time. Cooking with your little ones is a great way to build their self esteem, increase their confidence and boost their dexterity.
If the mess has deterred you, realize that there will be a bit of a mess. Your toddler’s stirring and measuring skills are brand new and really shaky, but with your help they will love learning and honing those skills. Here are are a few tips for containing the mess a bit.
1. Child sized aprons are perfect for little kitchen helpers. You can even have a fun craft day and decorate an apron with them!
2. Plastic tablecloths are available at the dollar store and are great for covering your work surface. When you’re finished, remove all your utensils and lift the tablecloth by all four corners to funnel the mess right into the trash.
3. Keep a damp towel nearby for wiping little fingers and hands.
4. Keep a garbage can close by so that kids can throw trash away as needed, rather than tracking across the kitchen where they may drop things along the way.
Safety is a very real concern for parents, especially in a room where sharp knives and metal graters are commonplace. Here are a few steps you can take to keep the environment as safe as possible.
5. Designate lower shelves that kids can reach for utensils, bowls, and/or ingredients.
6. Provide a sturdy step stool that kids can easily fold up and carry around.
7. Children should wear non-slip socks, you can make your own if you like!
8. Be sure to have hot pads within reach and make sure you have trivets and cooling racks at the ready.
9. If letting kids cut things makes you too nervous, start out with kitchen scissors, which are great for cutting salad greens! Kids can also help you cut by holding your wrist while you slice or shred the ingredients.
There are so many things that toddlers can do when it comes to actually making a recipe! Some may be messier than others, but all will result in happy giggles. Here are some ideas of how your kids can help.
10. Show them how to measure the ingredients and add them to the bowl
11. Teach them how to crack open an egg by holding both ends, tapping it in the center then pulling it apart with both hands, all while over a bowl or dish.
12. Stirring is the perfect activity, though expect some flying ingredients every now and then!
13. Sprinkling ingredients into the bowl, baking dish or on top of the finished recipe is perfect for kids. Think nuts, raisins, shredded cheese, and chopped herbs.
14. Teach your kids how to identify different ingredients such as vegetables and fruits. have them be responsible for collecting everything that’s needed.
15. Use a colander to rinse canned beans and fresh produce.
16. Arm them with a rolling pin and let them help roll out the dough.
17. Kids have lots of fun using cookie cutters to make fun shapes.
18. If you need to crush cookies or crackers, put them in a zipper plastic bag, squeeze out the air and seal it. Give your child a rolling pin to have them crush the ingredients.
19. When making mashed potatoes or other root vegetables, hand your little one the potato masher and let them go to town!
20. Teach your little one how to use a vegetable peeler and let them peel carrots to begin with (they are easier to hold), before they graduate to potatoes.
Now that you’re ready to cook with your toddler, here are a few ideas for getting started.
- Make these Honey Kix Mango-Carrot Smoothies and be sure to let them run the blender (with supervision of course!).
- Fruit and vegetable salads are great for getting started. Here’s a tasty and fresh Kix Kiddie Fruit Salad recipe they will love.
- Making homemade applesauce in the microwave is easy and fun to make!
- Check out these other fun kid friendly recipes on KixCereal.com.
|Project created by Amanda Formaro for Kix Cereal. Amanda is a well-known craft expert and author of the books “Rubber Band Mania” and “Duct Tape Mania”, the first two in a series of craft books for kids. She has been writing and crafting on the Internet for over fifteen years. Find out more on her blog, Crafts by Amanda, where she shares tutorials with step-by-step photos for adults and kids alike.|