It might not seem like your two year old would make a very good cook’s assistant, but in fact there are a number of things our little ones can do to help us in the kitchen.
1. Spooning and scooping
Toddlers love to scoop things and it’s a great way for them to work on those fine motor skills. Just be prepared for a little mess during the learning process!
Rosalie – 28 months – notice the tongue of concentration!
Another great way for your two year old to practice their motor skills in the kitchen is with stirring; different ingredients provide different levels of resistance providing a variety of challenges. You can set your little one on stirring duty whilst you get out the next ingredients.
3. Setting out paper cases
The first few times I got Rosalie to do this she struggled with getting the cases apart, so I would suggest separating them first and leaving them on the counter for your toddler to arrange into the bun tin. As they become more dexterous they will learn to get the cases apart by themselves.
4. Cutting out cookies
Rolling out pastry or dough is quite tricky for little hands, but once you’ve rolled it out for them you can hand over to your toddler to get stamping with the cookie cutters. They will enjoy making patterns and shapes, plus the odd nibble of dough!
Rosalie – 15 months.
5. Pressing buttons
Zero-ing the scales, turning on the mixer, setting the temperature on the oven, pushing start on the microwave – the possibilities are endless! There are so many buttons, switches and knobs in a kitchen, but it’s important to let your toddler know that they shouldn’t push them without you being there.
Your toddler decorated cake probably won’t be winning Bake Off, but they will have such a lot of fun!
Rosalie – 33 months.
7. Washing fruits and vegetables
Toddlers love water play, so why not make use of that and get them to wash your fruits ready for the fruit bowl, or the vegetables you need for the salad? Set them up with a bowl, the fruits and vegetables and a drying cloth to put them on.
8. Washing up
Similar to above, but with the added fun of bubbles! I don’t actually let Rosalie wash up of course, but she enjoys standing next to me at the sink and taking the clean items out of the rinsing bowl and putting them on the draining rack.
9. Licking the spoon and bowl!
Of course there is one very important job to be done in the kitchen that I haven’t mentioned yet. The serious business of licking the spoon and bowl. In all honesty I think this is the real reason Rosalie enjoys helping in the kitchen!
I love having my little cook’s assistant in the kitchen, and I hope by sharing these ideas that you will too.
If you are looking for more tips on cooking with your toddler, take a look at my post How to get started baking with your toddler. And if you are intrigued to know more about the benefits of baking with your toddler, have a read of my post What can toddlers learn from baking?