The art of cooking is slowly being lost generation by generation. This may be due to the fact that more families have two working parents vs. one working parent as well as the rise of convenience and pre-packaged foods. The loss of kitchen skills in my generation as well as the following generations is resulting in more reliance on less healthy food choices such as fast foods, pre-packaged foods and convenience foods. Sadly, these foods have not shown great potential in keeping us healthy 🙁
Being a working mom makes meal times stressful. I have 30 minutes from when I walk in the door to get the meal on the table before my toddler has a meltdown if food isn’t in his belly. So I get it. I want meals to be quick as well as take minimal prep. Not to mention that fact that the 30 minutes it takes to prep the meal is full of my toddler begging for my attention (who wouldn’t blame him after being in daycare all day)!
As my toddler has gotten older I have realized that he likes to be involved. When he participates in the meal prep he not only learns crucial kitchen skills but he also gets my attention. Woohoo! I am able to kill 2 birds’ with1 stone (horrible saying by the way)!
I often get asked what kinds of skills a 2 year old has in the kitchen so here are the tasks I allow my little guy to do:
*disclaimer: having a toddler in the kitchen will result in a much messier and not so perfect recipe creation 🙂
- Stirring/mixing– he will stir in a bowl or with high supervision food in a pot or pan on the stove
- Measuring ingredients– with assistance he will help measure flour, liquids, spices etc and dump them into the appropriate bowl/pot.
- Fetching/putting away ingredients– it is like having your own personal assistant!
- Cutting– I will let him hold the knife with me while I cut/chop vegetables. This is done very slowly and with much communication about where to keep fingers and hands. He has learned knife safety and will not touch the knife without mommy’s help. (I do not have a picture since I am always helping- so here is a cute popcorn picture!)
- Tearing lettuce/kale– he will tear washed lettuce or kale for salads.
- Putting muffin cups into the muffin pan– he also likes to count while he does this 🙂
- Holding the hand mixer or pushing buttons on the blender.
- Licking the spoon and taste testing- this is his favorite task!
All of these simple tasks get him involved in the kitchen and will help him in the future become more confident with making foods. Often when I am prepping vegetables for supper he will try some as he is putting them into the bowl/pot, so he is also learning about food and being more adventurous which can help minimize picky eating as he grows!
What are your kids’ favorite way to help out in the kitchen?