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I love to bake, like it is my life source, my zen time, my happy place, and it is relaxing and then well it’s delicious of course. We love making meals from scratch, making noodles and bread and all my sauces just brings me joy. As Adella got older I knew I wanted to include her in my passion, not just because I love it, but because it is a skill she needs to learn and can teach her a real understanding of food. Cooking with toddlers has so many amazing benefits.
Picky toddler ate new food
We all like different things, but I have seen with my own eyes my picky toddler try new things because she was the one mixing it or because she got help pour it. Most of the time she realizes she likes it and will eat it, but of course the next time I make it she won’t eat it! Even just having her try something new is a total mom win for me! She refused to eat mashed potatoes but after she helped me mash them she was in love! Cooking with toddlers is a fun way for them to see how the food is made and what goes in to it.
Finding the time
We use to do so much baking and cooking before I had Delta and when Delta was a baby and slept a lot, but I have struggled with what to do with Delta. She doesn’t like to sit in her highchair and watch us, and wearing her only keeps her happy for about 10 minutes. She is too young to sit on the counter and help and so it’s just tough to find that time. Yesterday I was able to get Delta to nap without me holding her, and as much as I love snuggling for naps it was nice to have that hour with Adella. So naturally we baked and it was so much fun!
So what can a two year old help with
- grabbing the ingredients
- grabbing the bowls and measuring cups
- helping measure
- helping pour
- mixing and mashing
- putting everything away
- helping wash dishes and cleaning up mess
Having them grab the ingredients and tools needed teaches them the name of the items and where they are. After a few times you can ask them to grab lets say the flour and see if they remember where it is and what it looks like! This challenges them and just may surprise you how much they pick up.
Helping measure it teaching them math skills and some fine and gross motor skills. You can compare the size of measuring cups and spoons to show them the different sizes.
Helping pour is one of Adella’s favorites. She gets to work on hand-eye coordination and gross motor skills, and she loves to watch how different flour pours compared to melted butter or water.
Mixing and mashing works those gross motor skills too and can be so fun. It can be really messy, but that is part of the fun. You can just let them mix until they are bored. This works great as a heavy work activity
Scooping is great for those fine motor skill, today Adella used the measuring spoon and was scooping the flour into the mixing bowl. It took awhile, but she loved it.
Of course putting away everything, and then helping to wash dishes. Cooking is fun, but we all must clean up afterwards and it’s never to early to learn that. I always have Adella help me put away dishes and then she “helps” wash dishes aka she plays in the water and pours out water.
We get things all cleaned up while the food cooks and then we get to all enjoy the food! She loves to tell everyone she made the food and I love to see her light up as she shares what she did. The pride that comes with cooking with toddlers make me continue to clean the messes! HAHA
Don’t like the mess?
I know some can’t stand the mess that comes with cooking with toddlers, my mom is one of those people so I’m here to say there are so many options! Do the mixing outside so you don’t have to clean up the mess. Or buy a baking set so your toddler can “cook” along side you!
Do your kids have a favorite recipe to help make? Adella loves to make muffins! Do you love cooking with toddler? Have a love hate relationship with it?