I’m not a natural cook. I’m definitely more of a ‘stick it in the slow cooker and hope it’s edible’ kind of girl. However, I do enjoy cooking and so does the other half so we take every opportunity to get the kids involved in cooking.
Cooking with kids, especially two toddlers can sound like a daunting task but it needn’t be. With a little bit of preparation and lots of patience it can be a brilliant and rewarding experience, and a fantastic way to bond with them and make them feel useful.
It’s also an amazing learning and development opportunity.
Numeracy skills – ordering, counting, weighing, measuring, timing
Literacy skills – reading recipes, new vocabulary
Fine motor skills – mixing, stirring, pouring, scooping, cutting
Bi-lateral coordination – understanding how to use both hands together to do a task
Learning about food, where it comes from & healthy diets
My youngest isn’t quite 13 months and my eldest is 2.5years so when they ‘help’ it does get rather messy but there’s so much they can do!
Mixing (mix was Alex’s first proper word at ten months!)
Putting mixtures into cake cases/tins
Spreading icing on cakes/biscuits
Cutting (bananas are great to teach cutting skills with)
You could do simple things like buy ready made fairy cakes or biscuits and use squirty or spreadable icing and all the fancy edible decorations you can but these days!
Smoothies are another great thing to do & a great way of getting fruit into their diet. You just need milk and fruit (bananas, strawberries, blackberries & raspberries are all lovely!) and a scoop of ice cream. The fruits are usually easy enough for kids to cut up or break up and plop in. We love making banana smoothie with chocolate ice cream. Harrison loves pressing the button on the blender and watching it all whiz round.
Most kids love pizza, but instead of buying one, buy (or make if you’re very clever!) a pizza base and spread on some tomato ketchup or purée, sprinkle on some grated cheese and let them loose! Provide little lots of toppings – chopped meat, peppers, mushroom, pineapple chunks, sweet corn etc. You could even make face pizza!
You could do the same with wraps. My two aren’t massive sandwich fans but love wraps so I give them a wrap and then let them choose their own fillings from bowls of grated cheese, ham, salad etc, and put them together (maybe not so much Alex just yet!)
A couple of months ago my friend sent me a link to a great idea which we tried. Unfortunately I can’t remember the original link to credit them.
Basically we used mini Milky Way bars and stuck smarties on with icing to look
like wheels, then stuck a mini gingerbread man on top. Great fun to make and even more fun to eat!
It goes without saying that safety and hygiene is super important.
Encourage kids to wash their hands before they start and tie long hair back. Talk to them about the dangers of hot
cookers, sharp knives etc. If appropriate, teach them how to handle sharp kitchen equipment sensibly. And of course, never leave them unattended, not even for a second. That’s all it takes for an accident to happen!!!
I will leave you with links to some basic recipes that are great for kids!
Baked Potato Mummy has also written a post about cooking with little ones – check it out here.