The toddler years are my latest favorite time of my daughter’s life. I know… I felt the same about the baby years too. but, that’s another story. Anyway, the reason I love toddlerhood so much is that it gives me a chance to let my daughter be involved with me in various chores and activities around the house and have fun too. Cooking and time in the kitchen is one such fun activity that we look forward to and makes mealtimes more enjoyable.
We don’t do anything fancy or out-of-the ordinary but then it’s the simple stuff that rocks our world, right? Here are some fun foods that we love to make together:
Funny Face Sandwiches
Sandwiches are a hit with our daughter. She loves them with jam, cheese, mashed eggs, veggies or even, plain butter. But what makes them special is a funny face. She helps cut the bread into rounds using a simple cookie cutter and then, spreading the jam and finally, drawing those squiggly lines for a funny face with either ketchup (yes, I know jam and ketchup?) or jam diluted with water. You can also use finely chopped veggies (carrots, spring onions and tomatoes) to make eyes, nose and a mouth.
Cakes, Cookies and Cupcakes
Baking is by far our most favorite activity. She’s been watching me bake ever since she was a baby. I used to take her rocker and put it in the kitchen while I whipped up a cake or a batch of cookies. Now, she joins me. She brings the flour, helps mix the batter and then, proceeds to lick the batter bowl clean. ***laughing*** Here are a couple of easy-to-make cake recipes that I use when baking with her. In fact, she loves baking so much, I’m considering buying this Williams Sonoma Kids Baking book for her birthday present in March.
Despite the fact that she’s a good eater, fruits our daughter doesn’t really enjoy. Bananas, sure. But everything else has to be stewed or mixed with other things. In this case, oatmeal. Since she helps me mash the fruit with her little fork and toss the raisins and grapes, she enjoys eating the oatmeal as well. Taste of Home has an easy recipe for fruity oatmeal that doesn’t need any cooking. However, if your toddler (like mine) wants everything mushy, zap it in the microwave for a few minutes.
Plain and Stuffed Omelets
There’s something really fascinating about an egg for a toddler. She squeals with delight each time we crack an egg open and then whisk it about. She also enjoys sprinkling the salt and pepper and adding in chopped up veggies or grated cheese, if we’re making a stuffed omelet. Please keep your little one away from the stovetop when actually cooking the omelet. Roni at Green Lite Bites has a fun post on how her toddler and she make their morning omelets.
While cooking with a toddler in the kitchen can be a lot of fun, you have to be very, very careful. NEVER leave your preschooler unattended in a kitchen where either the oven is on or there’s something on the stovetop. In fact, I’d say, never leave them unattended in the kitchen, period. Having said that, let cooking with your preschooler be fun – talk a lot, let them help and make a mess, if needed and chances are food and the kitchen will soon be a hot favorite.
Do you cook with your toddler? Have any tips? Ideas? Recipes? Do share!
Photo Credit: Abigail Batchelder
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