Can’t find time to read all of those parenting books and magazines? Don’t have a lot of mommy friends to bounce ideas off of? Kids go crazy every time you get on the phone to ask a friend their advice? No problem; I’ll do the work for you!
Each Thursday I bring you kid-tested tips and parenting solutions for a specific parenting challenge “from the mouths of moms.” We’ve already shared lots of tips for dealing with picky eaters, getting kids to sleep better, and ensuring stress-free play dates. Now here are direct quotes from a diverse group of mom bloggers (with kids of all ages and tons of ideas) on cooking with kids. Yep – meet your new mommy friends!
Alright, Mamas, what are your best tips for cooking with kids?
1. Start Young
“I have been cooking with my daughter since she was born. From watching me cook in a baby carrier to working her way up through the skills as she’s gotten older. Mixing, pouring, beating, cutting, kneading, spreading, etc. [I] provide plenty of opportunities for cooking from pretend play (spreading playdough on pretend toast, chopping pretend vegetables held together with velcro, etc.) to chopping up [her] own banana with a plastic knife, helping spread the peanut butter on their bread, cracking the eggs, measuring ingredients, beating the cake mix, and so on. If they grow up watching and being a part of the food preparation I think they will have a greater appreciation for the food.” Deborah from Learn with Play
2. Take Your Time
“I stopped worrying about the mess. I make sure I have plenty of time for clean up if I am going to cook with my children.” Danielle from 52 Brand New
3. Live for the Moment and Don’t Worry About the Mess
“Cooking with my child is the best part of my day! Making something yummy together is an opportunity to teach healthy food choices, have fun, and get messy. We don’t worry about the mess. We just live for the moment, and work together to clean everything up when we are done. Sometimes there are more ingredients on us than in the mixing bowl!” Didi from Duck Duck Octopus
4. Teach Safety Early
“I have cooked with my son since he was almost 2. I let him pour, mix, roll out cookies, use the mixer when baking cakes, cut with his butter knife and stir things in the pot. I have taught him about things being hot from the start so he has never been burned; [he] does great.” Catherine
5. Supervise Closely
“If they’re exposed to it early, they know what to do and what to avoid and how to be conscious of danger. My only rule is that we have to do things one child at a time during an activity that requires constant supervision because it’s impossible for me to watch more than one child closely enough when they’re doing things like stirring a pot or cutting with a knife.” Chrissy from The Outlaw Mom
6. Use Play Food First
“I love baking with my little guy (21 months)! When he was really little, I would talk him through the steps to my recipes while he played on the floor. He loved looking at the food at different stages of the recipe, too. Then we began doing a lot of pretend play with mixing bowls and a spoon. He learned how to stir and pour with non-food items first.” Gina from famiglia&seoul
7. Try Out a Kids’ Cookbook
“My daughter likes to help me bake cookies the best. One kids’ cookbook I love is called Pretend Soup. Each step is illustrated so the kids can ‘read’ the recipe.” Danielle from 52 Brand New
8. Use Fresh Grown Ingredients
“I also send the kids outside to pick fresh herbs and vegetables from the garden to help them get the idea of where our food comes [from].” Amanda from The Educators’ Spin on It
9. Pick Simple Recipes
“Don’t use a recipe that needs very exact measurements of everything that really doesn’t work (think victoria sponge that never rose as most of the baking powder ended up outside the bowl).” Cerys from Rainy Day Mum
10. Assign Jobs
“At our house, it is essential for the girls to have jobs. Twins tend to argue a lot so I’ve learned each person gets certain jobs in the kitchen. One will get to pour in the ingredients while the other stirs and then they switch. Both get to lick the spoons, of course!” Shawn from Awesomely Awake
11. Give Them Their Own Tools
“When my daughter was a toddler, I would give her scoops or scraps of whatever I was cooking with for her to play. She had her own bowl, spoons, and measuring cups. Yup, sometimes we ended up with food like couscous all over the floor, but it easily vacuumed up.” Rebekah from The Golden Gleam
12. Cover the Floor
“I put a mat on the floor and do the whole activity on the floor.” The Monko from Taming the Goblin
13. Make Tools Accessible
“Jake has started to want to learn how to open and pour his own juice, turn on the tap and fill his own water cup, make his own sandwiches, open his own yoghurt, etc. So I encourage all those activities. His cups, plates, bowls and cutlery are all in a cupboard he can reach too, so he can help set the table and get things out for his meals and snacks. He is a little independent thing now! Which makes me proud (and a little sad at times).” Katherine from Creative Playhouse
14. Pre-Measure Ingredients
“My son is 18 months. He loves to mix (and lick the spoon). I usually separate all the ingredients into small bowls and then let him pour them all together in a larger bowl.” Amy from Z is for Zel
15. Use Deep Bowls
“For baking, I have some nice DEEP mixing bowls that I love. The high sides keep most of the ingredients from splashing out!” MaryAnne from Mama Smiles
16. Practice Cutting on Fruit
“Fruit salad is my all-time favorite – most of the ingredients can be chopped with a butter knife!” MaryAnne from Mama Smiles
17. Cut with Kitchen Scissors
“Cutting food in a small pot with scissors is good as well especially with herbs for savory dishes.” Cerys from Rainy Day Mum
18. Use Repetition
“Every Saturday morning I make pancakes with my daughter. It is a great family tradition and the repetitive nature allows us to get creative. We’ve made puffy pancakes, classic crepes, fresh strawberry syrup, etc.” Zina from Let’s Lasso the Moon
19. Make it a Teachable Moment
“It is a great time not only to practice a range of skills but also [to learn] about different foods, food groups, sometimes foods, everyday foods, health, maths, science and so much more.” Deborah from Learn with Play
20. Focus on Nutrition
“We make smoothies in the blender a lot. Gives him a chance to learn [about] great foods.” Marnie from Carrots are Orange
21. Share Family Traditions
“it is a chance to pass along the treasured family recipes. My father taught me to cook, and now it is my turn to pass along all of the secret ingredients.” Didi from Duck Duck Octopus
22. Let Them Play with Real Ingredients
“My son (2.5) loves being in the kitchen with us. We try to give him tasks that he can do (stirring, pouring, rolling). When that’s not possible, I’ll give him a little bit of flour, oatmeal, and water to make his own dough.” Trisha from Inspiration Laboratories
23. Teach Them to Clean Up
“I involve my two year old daily in cooking. He helps with anything that requires pouring and mixing. He also really likes to shake spices. There maybe a bit of a mess, but he helps clean up. I figure that he learns to clean and cook at the same time!” Amanda from Dirt and Boogers
24. Let Them Do the Dishes
“As far as clean up I just throw everything into the sink and worry about it later. When I do get to the dishes, I put some soapy water in my son’s play kitchen sink and let him ‘wash dishes’ with a small piece of a sponge. He loves this!” Amy from Z is for Zel
25. Experiment and Celebrate the Failures, Too!
“My 5 year old likes to make her own yeast breads, biscuits, and soups on her own. Sometimes they don’t turn out, but we eat them anyways. I hope that my letting her experiment and cope with cooking failures she will be more likely to bake later on in life!” Amanda from The Educators’ Spin On It
I love to link up with:
Made by Little Hands Monday, Learning Laboratory Monday, Ta-Da Tuesday, Tasty Tuesdays, Tip Toe Through Tuesday, Tuesday Tots, Tip Me Tuesday, Get Your Craft on Tuesday, Show & Tell Tuesday, Made by Me Wednesday, Sugar & Spice Wednesday, Share & Wow Wednesday, Kids Get Crafty Wednesday, The Mommy Club Wednesdays, Happy Lil Hearts Are Baking, It’s Playtime Thursday, What Are Little Boys Made of Thursday, The Weekly Kids Co-op, Read Explore Learn Friday, For the Kids Friday, Fun for Kids Friday, Kitchen Fun and Craft Friday, Show & Share Saturday, The Sunday Showcase, and Link & Learn Sunday.
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