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Young children love to copy what they see their parents doing, and cooking is one big grown-up adventure for them! The kitchen can be a dangerous environment for little ones, but with care, they can play along side you as you prepare their food, and even make their own dinners!
The youngest toddlers are best off mixing! Give them a bowl and have them mix up dried ingredients such as pasta, rice, lentils and flour with a wooden or plastic spoon. Then give them a muffin tin or cake cases and have them divide the ingredients out into the tray. You're not going to want to taste their cooking, but they'll have a great time preparing it!
As children grow older they become more capable and able to cook all sorts of things, but for growing toddlers, there are still plenty of real foods that they can prepare and eat themselves. Adult help and supervision will be required, but the more your little ones feel they have created themselves, the more they'll enjoy their food, and the more they'll want to cook!
Here are some toddler friendly foods that they can create alongside you in the kitchen:-
- Buy a plain cheese and tomato pizza, prepare chopped ingredients for toppings and have your toddler arrange the topping over the pizza before cooking it in the oven.
- Weigh out 100g of cornflakes (or other breakfast cereal), then melt 50g butter and 100g chocolate in a microwave. Have your toddler add 5 tablespoons of golden syrup and the cornflakes and mix it all together. Put spoonfuls of the mix into cake cups and leave them to set in the fridge and in a couple of hours, you have the most delicious cornflake cakes!
- Invite your toddler to mix together 1 cup/200g peanut butter, 1 cup/200g sugar and one egg. When thoroughly mixed and smooth, place dollops of mixture onto a parchment lined baking tray. Bake at 350F/180C for 6 - 8 minutes for some wonderful peanut butter cookies.
- Buy some fresh berries and yoghurt (eg. blackberries and blackberry yoghurt, or strawberries and strawberry yoghurt). Have your toddler squash a berry into each section of an ice cube tray, and then spoon in yoghurt to fill it up. Place the tray in the fridge and the next day you'll have delicious fruity frozen yoghurt.
- Buy some plain undecorated fairy cakes or biscuits, some squeezy tubes of icing and other cake decorations. Your little one will love decorating cakes and biscuits!
There are so many things that even the youngest toddlers can help create in the kitchen, and while they're doing this, they'll be learning about foods, ingredients and how things are made. What could be more fun?!