From unloading groceries, washing produce or grating cheese, here are 8 fun and interactive ways toddlers can help in the kitchen.
As a registered dietitian and Mom who loves to eat, cook, and teach these life skills to my children, I have a confession: allowing my toddlers to help in the kitchen is STRESSFUL. Heck, grocery shopping with them is too! While I’ve found a few ways to make grocery shopping with toddlers a little easier, I’m working on the “kids in the kitchen” part. Cooking is my me time. My solitude. My creative space. So forgive me if having two toddlers pick their nose and taste the brownie batter isn’t exactly my cup of tea!
BUT, there’s always a but, because I know getting kids involved in the kitchen is just one step towards getting them exposed to [and hopefully trying and enjoying] healthy foods, I’m making it part of my weekly mission to have them help with one recipe or two. I’m starting small folks… baby steps for Mom here!
How do they help you might ask? Well here you have it. 8 simple ways I have my toddlers help in the kitchen!
Unload groceries. Having your kids help unload the groceries not only teaches them where things go in the fridge, freezer, and pantry, but you can also leave a few of the items out for them to help with some food prep.
Zest [limes or lemons] or shred/grate [cheese]. This is my favorite grater to have the boys use. You can also grate things like an avocado or soft potato— for fun! Or forget it and just eat the cheese. Like Joey and Anthony’s friends do in this sweet video:
Whisk or mix. Sometimes I get the batter going [brownie batter is really thick!] and crack the eggs, but then I had the utensils over to the boys.
Scoop seasonings or ingredients and pour. Does your recipe call for a ½ cup of flour or a tablespoon of Italian seasoning? Get out those measuring cups and spoons and have your toddler scoop or sprinkle it in your recipe!
Washing produce. Before I begin a big batch of food prep, I more often than not have Joey and Anthony running around the kitchen. Joey loves getting his stool and parking it right in front of the sink [probably because he loves splashing in the water]. Now I give him the task of rinsing grapes or bell peppers before I slice them.
Use small knife to cut or spread. We are new to this one, and actually have NOT attempted to do this just yet. BUT, I know many parents, including my friend Brittany, who has worked on knife skills with her toddlers. Read all about her experience here. I also ended up purchasing the knives she recommends for the boys!
Clear their plates and load into dishwasher. OR unload the dishwasher. Pretty self-explanatory. But this is a big one for me. Mom makes the meal. And Dad helps to clean up. Now that the boys are old enough to pitch-in too they do just that!
Place items into blender for smoothie. I love walking downstairs in the morning and hearing Ted do his morning smoothie routine with the boys. They sit and talk about the ingredients and he has the boys put things like a handful of spinach, a scoop of avocado, and a splash or two of milk in the blender. I recently shared our morning smoothie routine in a Facebook Live video last Friday. You can catch the laughs, cute PJ’s, and tasty smoothie here.
Want even more ways to get your toddler involved in the kitchen? Head on over to my fellow toddler-sous-chef momma’s [Lindsay] blog. Today she’s sharing kitchen tasks toddlers can help with [along with a few fun videos of her toddler Chase helping!]. As you know Lindsay and I are both passionate about raising healthy kids, and worked together last year on a eBook dedicated to feeding our babies and toddlers.
Let’s chat: Do your toddlers take an interest in helping in the kitchen? What are some of their favorite things to do or cook?!