Has your 2 to 4-year-old shown any interest in being in the kitchen? Especially, being interesting in cooking and such?
Well, maybe it’s time to start with them. It can be confusing how to begin and even where to begin. I did my research to come up with ideas.
I have a little toddler who likes to help sometimes and she does love kitchen activities.
I will give some tips on how you can cook with your toddler to make things easier for the both of you.
Visit this post if you want to know why cooking with children is important.
1. Only Use Hands.
Because this article only addresses small toddlers I think the number one rule is to only use hands.
Well if you need to use other methods that are not sharp then it’s fine. Some might say rubber fork or knives but it is best to avoid does.
If you are worried about hygiene then make sure to always wash their hands and have them near you so you can supervise them.
Using hands will also make it even more fun and they enjoy baking or cooking even more.
2. Start with a Sensory Activity.
If your toddler has shown interest before it’s through sensory activities with food. Take a small number of ingredients and put them in a bowl.
Allow your 2-year-old to familiarise themselves with this ingredient or these ingredients. As they are used to it they will help you much better.
So, from the beginning, it can be like a toy or a play section for them. If they realise they can have fun with it you have their full attention.
3. Start Easy.
This one is very important. You can’t just start your first cooking activity with a very hard task for them to do. Like cutting or mashing a cooked potato.
My toddler loves to help when my partner is making juice. We have a home juicer and there he blends fruits and vegetables.
After cutting them up my toddler helps put the cut fruits in the juicer. She enjoys doing this easy task but at the same time, she’s having fun.
Learning the different ingredients and how the whole process is being done.
Another example can be after you baked a cake and added the whipped cream why not allow your little one to help with the decorating.
It can be sprinkling or adding fruits. Starting easy is a good way to cook with a toddler.
4. He or She Can Your Taste Buddy.
Cooking with toddlers does not always have to be them doing a major thing. Your 3 or 4 years old can be your taste buddy.
At this age, some toddlers know the word salty and sweet.
When cooking soup or baking cookies they can be your taste buddies. Assisting and helping you out if you can’t taste.
Well, even if you, you can still use this method just to keep them involve and make them feel as they are cooking as well.
It does include “starting easy”. Tasting and approving is easy for some toddlers. It’s also great teamwork between you two or three with your partner.
5. Teamwork with Multiple Toddlers.
If you have been blessed with twins, triplets, etc then teamwork is great. It can also be that you have more than one toddler.
A 2, 3 and 4 year old at home then why not bring in teamwork so they can learn from each other.
When baking and cooking with all of them is not really good to give each of them a task. Keeping an eye on them all won’t be easy even if your kitchen is huge.
Instead what you do is group them to do one single task. Two people can do task number one and another two task number 2.
It makes young siblings interact and learn from each other. Although, I must warn you depending on what your kids are doing, is going to be messy.
Some toddlers are calm and make less mess when they are controlled. In this way, you also get breakfast, lunch or dinner ready faster.
6. Start with Something You are All Familiar with.
When you are cooking or baking for the first time why not start with something you all know. Cookies, pancakes or omelette is something many families know.
These things are easy and your toddler won’t have trouble helping out.
Also, if you know this in your head then you won’t have to open up your phone or laptop following recipes.
It keeps you concentrated on the task itself and you can keep an eye on your toddler. Giving them a task before you begin.
This is of course done the first few times you guys bake or cook together. You first need to be used to your toddler helping out.
After you have learned to keep an eye on them, then you can try harder recipes. Challenge them and yourself.
Also, as they grow they would be able to handle harder tasks. You know your toddler and what they can handle. Choose recipes base on that.
7. Play Games or Sing.
As you heard or even experience toddlers attention spans are too short. If you want to keep them aboard all the way then you need to add in fun.
Your toddler is learning every day about colours, shapes, opposites, etc. Why not play games while you are cooking?
Ask them about the shape of a certain fruit or vegetable, its colours, etc. You can keep doing it and if they don’t know to teach them.
If you are cooking with multiple toddlers give them all the chance to respond and do NOT make it a competition.
They are there to have fun and not get upset.
How about making your songs about a fruit or vegetable or even the meal you are preparing.
Coming up with songs to keep my toddler interested has always worked and she finds it funny.
Cooking should not always be serious and only about doing tasks, but add also add fun to it.
8. Allow the Cooking to Be Messy.
Although you might want it clean and non-mess activity is sometimes unavoidable.
If your toddler or toddlers should enjoy themselves and cook freely a messy kitchen is more likely to occur.
Even grown-ups make a messy kitchen when they are cooking and baking so as you can see it will be hard for toddlers not to experience this.
It’s sometimes okay, but you can have your rules in place to keep it minimal. We are all different.
Some parents don’t mind it and others are strictly against it. Being in the middle is good, sometimes.
9. Cleaning Process During the Cooking.
If you want less mess and to teach your kids about cleanliness, why not make them store away or clean during the Cooking process.
After they have used a bowl make them put it in the dishes and take a tissue tidying up.
Although they might clean it 100% it’s still less messy than before.
The cleaning process after you are done won’t take that much time either.
As we all know cooking is not only about the food is also about the equipments.
Well, these are the tips I have to share with “how you do cook with a toddler” Following these tips will make it much easier for both of you.
All of these tasks can be done with many families and these are easy for your 2 to 4-year-old. It’s not hard and won’t require a lot.
If your toddler has shown interest in cooking then use these tips to get them started. Read the BBC site for more ideas.
How do you think your toddler will react to these tips? Please do let me know.
If you need further help let me know. All the best,