toddler cooking activities

Toddlers LOVE Cooking Activities

Do you have fond memories of doing cooking activities with your parents or grandparents as a child?

Toddlerhood is not too early to start this favourite pastime so why not do it now? As well as being tons of fun, toddler cooking is a perfect introduction to many math and science skills! And if you do healthy kid recipes you know she will be eating right too.

A good way to start children cooking is the family meal. Look for very simple steps within the normal preparation. This can encourage a fussy eater to try different and maybe healthier food.

Photo by Jessica Merz

Helping you with some ‘important work’ that they see you do everyday can build a good self esteem and a feeling of being trusted from an early age.

Toddlers even love the simple chores such as washing their hands before and after. So pull a chair up to the kitchen work surface for your little one and enjoy these simple toddler cooking activities.

You could invite your toddler to:

  • wash vegetables or fruit, ideally in a bowl/sink of water with a veggie/nail brush and an apron on if the veggies are muddy.
  • transfer chopped vegetables or fruit from the chopping board to a salad bowl or cold pan (after you’ve finished chopping of course).
  • pour pre-measured ingredients into a mixing bowl.
  • help stir most soft cold mixtures (even letting your toddler have a little poke with a wooden spoon can make him feel proud of what was made).
  • sprinkle cheese on lasagna, shepherds pie or other dishes.
  • crack eggs over a colander, which is sitting over a bowl to catch the shell and wash their hands afterwards.

Older Toddlers/Preschoolers could be shown how to:

  • pour milk onto their cereal using a small (cream) jug or carton.
  • spread soft spreads to crackers, cool toast and bread.
  • use safety scissors to cut easy-to-cut foods such as sping onions, sandwich meat, baby sweetcorn, mange touts and cooked hotdogs. Teach them to point the scissors while cutting.
  • tear up a bell peppar. The trick is to hold the pepper so your thumbs are touching the stem, it’s resting on a hard suface and your arms are straight. Push the stem in with your thumbs, then use your thumbs to tear the pepper starting at the hole where the stem was. Take out the stem and seeds (rinse if the seeds are being stubborn). Continue to tear up the pepper. It’s best if you all have one each.
  • cut soft fruit, cooked vegetables and hotdogs with a butter/child’s knife.

A parenting tip for your toddler/preschooler: Playing the ‘your turn, my turn game’ is particularly useful during toddler cooking activities. It teaches an important social skill too!

Easy Kid Recipes

Here are some more complete little toddler cooking activities which are perfect toddler projects!

Crackers With Toppings

Ingredients:
Thick crackers
Cream/soft cheese
Choose toppings such as:
Small pieces of sandwich meat
Chopped veggies: cucumber, yellow/orange peppers, lettuce, celery or olives
Grated cheese or carrot

Let an older toddler have a go at spreading the cream cheese on crackers. It’s easier to do this on a chopping board rather than a plate as the sides don’t get in the way. Give a younger toddler crackers with cream cheese already on them. Display the toppings in bowls. Let your little one choose toppings and arrange them on crackers. If the toddlers just eat the items seprately after I demonstrate/explain the activity, I just go with the flow.

Pizza

Ingredients:
A pizza base
A tube of tomato paste
Grated cheese
Pizza toppings such as small pieces of chicken, mushrooms, yellow/orange pepper and sweetcorn

Prepare by chopping the toppings, grating the cheese and putting them into small bowls. Invite your toddler to squeeze out some tomato paste and spread it on the the pizza base with a butter knife. Ask her to sprinkle on the grated cheese. Then let her choose the toppings. (You can have her put the cheese on last if you prefer). Pop it in the oven for about 10 minutes.

Sandwiches

Ingredients:
Thick bread slices
Soft butter or margarine
A choice of 2-4 toppings

Again a chopping board is a perfect work surface for a toddler. Talk her through the process… she might not have noticed the butter before. It’s best if all the toppings work together… or you might end up with a weird concoction with her putting them all on the bread together. 🙂

Ice Lollies (Ice Pops)

Ingredients:
Concentrated fruit juice

This is great pouring practice for a older toddler. Half fill a plastic jug (or fill a small one) with concentrated juice (since freezing dilutes the taste a little). You may wish to add a little water if your concentrated juice is very thick. Place an ice lolly (ice pop) mold in a high-sided roasting tray. Have an old towel on hand. Let your child stand on something steady so the work surface is at their waist to give them the best chance of success. Show your toddler how to pour with both hands.

I’m sure you’ll have loads of fun doing these cooking activities with your toddler!

Just to cover ourselves: For safety reasons do not leave your child unattended while cooking.


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