Are you looking for a fun activity you could do with your toddler? Are you eyeing activities that could enrich their creativity and boost their confidence? Are you even looking up projects that teach them basic skills like mathematics? Well, you don’t need to search for such activity any further as you’ve got the solution in your kitchen.
Yes, the fun activity you could enjoy with your toddler is cooking! Your child could experience a lot of benefits. A 2020 study found out that cooking with your child could help them adopt a healthy eating habit, learn through their senses, hone their basic math skills, and even improve social interactions. So, if you want your toddler to experience such benefits for yourself, here are five ways your toddler can aid you in the kitchen:
Let Them Help When Unloading Groceries
Before you start cooking with your child per se, you’d have to introduce them to the kitchen – and what better way than unloading the groceries. With this step, your toddler learns where specific things go. You could teach them the difference and importance when placing food in particular areas, whether in the fridge, freezer, or pantry.
Additionally, you could even observe them while they try to fit things into their places – as their attempts are very beneficial to honing their understanding of shapes and sizes. Lastly, you could start leaving out the items you’ll need for them to aid you with food prepping. Doing so will stimulate and excite them for what’s to come.
Supervise Them As They Help With Prepping The Ingredients
When preparing the ingredients, you should teach them to wash their hands first. This step will establish the importance of food safety. After, you could let them clean the vegetables or take out the meat in the freezer. You could even let them pick herbs from the stem, mash vegetables, or mix the batter. Toddlers love to show what they can do, and finishing your assigned task gives them a sense of accomplishment.
Likewise, you could buy them kid-safe knives and let them start cutting vegetables if they’re old and capable enough. You could let them stir the food. With this, you should make sure to buy them an apron to keep their clothes clean. You can look up My Happy Helpers for all your toys and needs. Here, no matter how small or big the mess, cleaning up is more manageable with your toddler’s apron.
Encourage New Flavors By Taste Testing
Introducing your child to the kitchen opens them to a new world of flavors before they start developing a picky taste. Here, you could let your child stir the food and take a small bite without you trying to serve them. This step gives them a feeling of independence and encourages an adventurous palate.
Likewise, you could even teach your kids how certain foods taste and let them have experienced such. Introducing them to various ingredients you’re working with enables them to discover the different flavors (you could ask them what they taste most like). You could even teach them how healthy food makes their body grow.
Teach Them The Different Kitchen Items
By teaching your kids the different kitchen items, you also establish a line and teach them about safety. Here, you could lead them to stay away from knives and keep them stored in a location where they can’t reach them. It would help if you also taught and enlightened them to keep their hands away from the stove or in the oven. Here, you could carefully explain why it’s not safe to do so.
Aside from storing your sharp objects out of reach, you should also unplug your appliances beforehand, so your toddler doesn’t turn them on. By doing so, you prepare and stay away from any accidents that could occur. Thus, if your child isn’t old enough to handle knives, it’s best to teach them and store these kitchen items.
Enrich Their Creativity When Plating
The plating doesn’t necessarily mean you give them sole control of everything they put on the plate. Here, you could let your toddler plate their food, or you could give them instructions on where to place each. Nevertheless, this will encourage and foster creativity and independence in your child.
You could even teach them how much would go into the plate. With this, you could give your child instructions like, “Five carrots go on the left side and one spoon of peas on the other.” With instructions like these, they learn to count and learn for themselves, all the while having fun decorating the food you’ve cooked together. You could even let them add the finishing touch of sprinkling cheese or adding herbs on top.
As your toddler grows, they will develop their skills and attention span. This will interest them in doing more significant tasks, so it’s best to supervise them while giving them such. Likewise, your toddler will also love cooking with you, so remember to have patience and engage with them. With such, you both develop a love for cooking and quickly bond with the help of flavor.