Friday, November 11, 2011

Five Tips For Cooking With Toddlers

A friend recently asked how I cook with the girls in the kitchen. I strangely did not know what to tell her. We have been on this journey for over two years now and it is second nature. The girls know when to ask to help and I am much better at finding good ways to include them.

For those thinking about having a little one join you in the kitchen here are five easy places to begin:

  1. Breakfast - There are so many easy ways for young children to help with breakfast. Slicing bananas with a butter knife for cereal; pouring oats or other grains into a pot for you to cook; placing bread in a toaster; with assistance pouring milk into a glass or bowl; and learning to crack eggs are all fun and easy tasks for young helpers.
  2. Bento Meals - These are cute meals packed into small containers in a stylish fashion. The American versions I see usually just involve cut out food shapes and artfully arranged fruit. Your assistant could place items you prepare in a sandwich or leftover container for a picnic lunch. Many of our picnic lunches have been in the living room the last few weeks as it has gotten colder.
  3. Slow Cooker Meals - Many slow cooker meals simply call for placing all of the ingredients into a crock and setting the temperature. If any prep is needed it can be done ahead of time and your helper can jump in when it is time to throw everything in. My girls love these type of meals.
  4. Muffins - This is our favorite item to bake. Muffin recipes call for the dry ingredients to be mixed in a separate bowl from the wet ingredients. The easiest way to start is by pre-measuring all of the ingredients and having your helper toss them in the bowl. Once the dry and wet items are all in their bowls you can pour one bowl into the other and show your assistant how to stir softly. Be mindful of stirring, it can get messy quick.
  5. Gifts in a Jar - With the holidays approaching you may be looking for fun crafts your children can make for friends and relatives. Cookies and brownie mixes are fun to make and usually well received. If the gift recipient lives close you can even offer to have your child come help bake the goodie.
And if you are worried about the mess, keep a cutting board under your work space and a towel handy.

Making Raisin Bran Muffins

Adding the buttermilk.
Check out Sun Scholars for fun activities with children.

For the Kids Friday
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  1. Thanks for posting this Kris! I think I may attempt the gift jars :). I actually had Olivia help cook her oatmeal the other morning, and se was so excited and proud of herself :).

  2. I have the pickiest eaters and am always looking for ways to get them more involved. I like the idea of having them help with slow cooker meals. I am a new GFC, Twitter and FB follower from Sun Scholars. Vicky from Mess For Less


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