Who doesn't like unsolicited advice by a total stranger?

Tips for cooking with toddlers

I love cooking. I want to share this passion with him. That’s why I’m always finding ways to invite him to join me in the kitchen. Through trial and error, here are some of the conclusions I came up with:

  • Only ask him for assistance if I’m on a good spirit and we are not in a rush.
  • Wash all the veggies thoroughly before handing them to him. He will lick or eat all of them.
  • Easy recipes, no frying involved. I find stews are great. We can dump all ingredients on a pot, add broth and put it on the kitchen stove on low heat and go play for a while.
  • Safety first: We usually do most of the work on the kitchen table. If we move to the counters, I’m always by his side. It’s not only that he could fall from the chair, but he can reach the most dangerous thing in the blink of an eye.
  • Things he can do:
    • I cut the veggies and he puts them on a bowl for a second wash (They are already washed, but toddlers love water, so he gets to re-wash them again).
    • Throw the peels to the compost bin, the plastic to the plastic bin and so on.
    • Use the potato masher. Very handy when doing banana pancakes. I put them on a bowl and he smash them for a while.
    • Use the salad centrifuge/spinner (He can be playing with this forever)
    • Use the hand mixer with my help. You just need to keep an eye on your toddler. The thing with hand-mixers is that once you lift the finger from the button, it stops working. So, if it falls, the mixer will stop. I plug the hand mixer to a switch socket with an on/off button. If he were in any danger, I can switch off quickly without having to take the mixer from his hands.
    • Peeling veggies with the peeler: these tools usually have some protection over the blade so that you can’t cut yourself. I hold the potatoes or the carrots for him and he slides the peeler.
    • Kneading dough: Not the best work, but hey his hands are getting stronger.
    • Topping pizzas
    • Stir food on the pan or pot at low heat with me by his side. I know that this implies a level of risk that many of you might not be comfortable with. Our kitchen stove is electric (vitro). I wouldn’t do this on a gas stove at this young age. We only do this on low heat, with no oil, and after talking about how hot it is and how we can hurt ourselves if we don’t pay attention.
    • Add dried herbs but no salt (you can guess why)

I know that some of these things might scare you. You know your child best and you should evaluate what tasks he/she can do on the kitchen with you by their side. The most important thing is that you are keeping an eye on them at all times and always next to them.

Helping in the kitchen gives children a sense of accomplishment and purpose. It is also a way to venture into different foods and textures.

Let me know if you give it a try.

Good luck!



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