How can my toddler help me in the kitchen?
If you’ve ever wondered how your toddler can help you in the kitchen this is for you! As parents it can be difficult to know what your toddler is ok to have a go at doing and what should be avoided. The main things to be careful of is food that is too small which could be a choke hazard. Handling things on the hob or that has just come out of the oven, I wouldn’t advise at this age, but they can put things in the saucepan before the hob is on. Food that has come out of the oven can be put on a cool tray or plate for them to handle. Always make sure they understand that things might be hot and for them not to touch, ensuring they are aware of the dangers is just as important as letting them have a go at cooking.
How does it help their development?
Develops early literacy & numeracy skills – encouraging them to count the ingredients used, helping to weigh out ingredients.
Develops their fine motor skills – letting them decorate the cupcakes or pizza will really help with those fine motor skills.
Instils confidence – seeing the end result and feeling proud of what they have made, maybe asking them to share what they have made with another family member or grandparent.
Lays the foundation for healthy eating habits – encouraging children to explore different foods, getting involved with making their sandwich or snack, explaining what these foods are all helps to encourage healthy eating choices.
Encourages them to try new foods – let children explore new foods by touch and taste, asking them questions, what does it feel like? Does it smell of anything? What does it taste like? Exploring the foods with them with give them the confidence to try it themselves.
What activities can your little one help you with?
- Stirring the cake mix
- Putting ingredients into a bowl
- Decorating a cake or even a pizza
- Asking them to put their favourite toppings on to their sandwich
- Cutting up soft foods – a good rule of thumb if they are using a knife and fork at mealtimes there is no reason why they can’t use their knife to cut up soft fruit
Just a few suggestions of different activities you can get them involved in while you are in the kitchen. Remember to make it fun by getting them to guess what each ingredient is, what do they need to do with it and where does it come from etc. Making it fun will keep their interest in the activity and encourage them to explore different tastes & textures. Ask them what does it smell like? How does it feel? Let them have a play with the ingredients as this is so important for their sensory development. Most importantly try not to take over, this can be really hard to do sometimes, but let them have a go even if it takes a bit longer!
While you are waiting for it to bake always encourage them to help with tidying up afterwards. Helping wash the dishes, clearing the table and sweeping the floor. Making this a normal part of cooking and baking, that once we have baked, we know need to tidy up, before we get to try our freshly baked goodies!
Looking for recipe inspiration to make with your little ones? Check out our Fun & Easy Recipe Booklet, this includes 10 recipes to try with your kids, it is a free download and will come straight to your inbox. You can download it here.
Do check out our Instagram over the next couple of weeks as we run through some easy baking recipes to make with your little bakers.
Why not check out our other blog posts here.