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Finding time to cook while caring for a child of any age can be difficult.
Keeping children away from sharp knives and hot stoves are essential for their safety, but may not be easy when you are focusing on cooking. Rather than simply cooking for your child, try cooking with your child!
This may seem like a crazy idea, and you may have a lot of questions, but cooking can be used as a great learning tool for children of all ages.
Let’s look at some ways children can help and learn with you in the kitchen.
Babies (0-12 months)
There are not many ways a baby can help you while you are cooking, but there are many ways you can help them!
Cooking is a great multisensory experience.
Most often while people cook, babies are situated in their high chair or safe space in the kitchen. They are already there with you, so why not give them a great learning experience while you cook?
Children experience different smells, tastes, textures, and sounds in the kitchen. Some ways to enhance your baby’s learning in the kitchen include:
Toddlers (12-36 months) and Preschoolers (36-60 months)
There are a few different ways your toddler can help you in the kitchen.
Toddlers are often in the “I can do it” phase, so this is a perfect way to allow them to do something on their own. Allowing your toddler to helping you in the kitchen may add a bit of time to your cooking, but it will be worth it for what your child is learning and how they feel when they are finished.
Be sure the ingredients you are giving your child are toddler-friendly because they will most likely want to taste them!
Try some of these ways to involve your toddler in cooking:
Recipe: Rainbow Frozen Yogurt Bark
1. Before starting, prepare some fruit of different colors by chopping it into small pieces. Some fruits that are great for this include:
2. Let your child help you spread some yoghurt onto a sheet tray covered in parchment paper. Give them a spoon or simply let them use their hands!
3. Allow your child to sprinkle the chopped up fruit over top of the yoghurt on the tray.
4. Drizzle some honey on top of the fruit.
5. Put the tray into the freezer for at least two hours.
6. After it is frozen, take it out of the freezer and help your child break it into small pieces, either using a wooden spoon or simply with your hands.