Cooking with a Toddler

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We are constantly cooking in our house and from a very early age we knew it was rubbing off on our Z. We put her tiny kitchen (we got the wood DUKTIG Play Kitchen one from Ikea, I highly recommend it) in our kitchen so we could all cook together at the same time. Well, I had been noticing the past year or so she wants to get in there and REALLY cook in the REAL kitchen. So, over time, I’ve pulled together some ideas of how your toddler can actually help you cook. It’s great when I start to cook and Z walks up and says “I help?” and I can actually respond with a list of things she can do to really help – after washing her hands first, of course!

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Placing items onto a baking sheet or in a bowl after they’re chopped/cut. Especially in the fall/winter, we’re always baking and roasting. As I chop/cut, it’s the perfect task for your toddler to place your cut item onto the baking sheet or into a bowl.

Tossing pre-measured ingredients into the bowl or mixer. I measure the flour, she can pour it in! I measure the nutmeg, she tosses it in the bowl. This one can get messy but they feel really proud when they make in the bowl.

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Tossing in spices/herbs that don’t require measuring. We put dried parsley in a bunch of recipes and never measure it. So, Z’s job is to toss in the dried parsley, I tell her when to stop…and most of the time she does, but what’s an extra shake of dried parsley? Grinding pepper falls into this category too.

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Using benign kitchen appliances. Do I let her use the knife to chop veggies? No. Do I let her use the rolling pin to give the dough an extra roll or 10? Yes. And she always feels awesome about it! But honestly, the lettuce spinner is her fave benign kitchen appliance – she could spin lettuce for HOURS!

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Hanging out with a snack. Sometimes “I help” really means, let’s hang out. And she gets to have a snack of whatever I’m making while I make it, not a bad gig!

How do you let your little one help in the kitchen?