Your little ones simply adore copying what you do, and when your working in the kitchen, nothing will make them happier than to play with the same kitchen implements that you use - wooden spoons, spatulas, whisks and bowls. Of course, they don't need to mess up your lovely kitchen utensils, although nylon and wooden ones would be perfectly safe for them, you can also buy whole sets of kitchen utensils from any toy store.
Pretend kitchen play is a valuable pastime for all kids. At a physical level they are learning about materials and honing their fine motor skills as they drop ingredients into bowls and stir them. They are also growing their understanding of how food is prepared, learning what is involved and about where their meals come from.
As they grow older you can move from pretend utensils to real ones, and from play food to real 'dried foods' (such as pasta, dried fruit, cereal etc.) and on to genuine cooking. Next time you are in a supermarket, take a look in the home baking aisle and you will find all manner of easy foods that you can whip up with the kids.
Here are some simply foods that you can buy from the supermarket and which even the youngest children can 'cook':-
All these products can be prepared in around 5 minutes and baked in around 20, and can form a part of the children's real meals. Try to cook with your children at least once a week and they will have a whale of a time!
This is a great activity to use up some of the Christmas packaging you might have and also have a go at making some cardboard cookies to play with.
Take some brown corrugated card packaging and cut out lots of varied cookie shapes. Talk about the shapes you are cutting: are they round cookies, square cookies or heart shaped. Then, cut some white paper into the same shapes to make the cookies toppings. Think of some fun things to put on top. Draw chocolate sprinkles, raisins, cherries, grapes, and so on, onto each of the pieces of paper. Make sure you do a few of each. Using some tape, stick the toppings on the cookies.
Ask your child:
The idea of cooking with children might fill you with horror, what with the mess, the organisation, the dangers and the unappetising results, but, with a little planning, careful thought and a bit of patience, you can all have a fulfilling and fun time in the kitchen.
Cooking actually covers various areas of the EYFS development programme and so it is a great focus activity.
While cooking: Show your children the recipe and get all the ingredients ready in advance. Guide and direct the children through the cooking and keep them engaged so they don't get distracted and do their own thing. Use tools and bowls that are the appropriate size so they feel in control and able to do the task. Allow them to do as much as you can themselves without endangering them. Talk about the dangers and hot areas to avoid (oven, hob etc). Encourage them to help clear up and taste the food afterwards.
Why should they cook?
Maths and counting and numbers may not be your preferred subject and it may bring back memories of dreading the maths lessons as school and struggling over homework, but it doesn't have to be like that! While hard sums are a long way down the line for our children, it's a great idea to get them in the swing of counting and using numbers, even when they are small, so they are confident when they get older. It will serve as vital building bock for future maths.
Here are a few simple way of incorporating numbers, counting and sums into your toddler's life. You'll see how easy it is!
Making learning fun is the fundamental ideal of ToucanLearn, it's fun and learning for you and your little ones!
Soups make for a nutritional and filling meal for adults and children and a good home made soup is easy and quick to make. You can use the same basic steps to make almost any soup, here are those steps:-
Your stock might be a vegetable or chicken based stock or bouillon, or you can use other liquids such as coconut milk, regular milk, tomato juice, a tinned soup or even water. What about the main ingredients? How about:-
Use your imagination and use flavours that you know your children like. Here are some extra tips to guide you:-
Soups really are easy to make and offer a really versatile meal, they are also a really healthy option for the whole family!
There are times when you need to be getting on with preparing the next meal and you have your little ones snapping around your ankles getting ever so slightly in the way - if you can sit them down at a table or on the floor and keep them occupied, then you'll find that you can get on with your work that much more easily! Here's a great idea to help occupy your toddlers in the kitchen...
Take a mixing bowl and add a small handful of three or four different types and shapes of dried pasta - bows, tubes, spirals, twists and so on. Mix them all up. Give your little one a muffin tray and have them sort the pasta back into the right shapes, filling the cups in the muffin tray with each of the different types of pasta. Hopefully this will keep them occupied for some time and they will enjoy this as much as doing a puzzle.
For older children you can make the challenge a little harder by using rice, lentils and other smaller dried foods amongst the pasta.
This is a great activity to let your children loose on every time you want to cook in the kitchen and they want to 'cook' too! This activity incorporates shape matching and encourages their fine motor skills as they have to pick up small pieces of pasta and place them in the right place.
You are more likely to contract food poisoning in your own home than from a restaurant, that's slightly surprising, but it's true because there are so many ways that bacteria can contaminate food that we are about to eat. It's vital to store food properly. Here are some pointers and some reasons why!
What's the difference between 'sell by', 'use by' and 'best before' dates?
Sell by - this is the date by which the shop need to sell the goods. There may well be a few days after this date that the food will be fine to eat.
Use by - this is the date by which the food must have been consumed - or throw it away! If you were a restaurant and you served food after the "use by" date it would be against the law.
Best before - this is all about quality. The food would be fine to eat after the sell by date, but it will be past its best.
Other things to remember:
Food hygiene is especially important if you have children in your home, both to practice and to teach them about so that they grow up understanding how to prepare food safely.
Kids love to play make-believe and it forms an important part of childhood development. The last thing you want when you are preparing their real meals is for the children to be snapping at your heels, getting in your way and being dangerously close to hot food and other hazards. Why not let them make their own food? ...well, pretend to at least! Give them a few small containers (such as yogurt pots or a muffin tin), a couple of wooden kitchen utensils, and a few dried foods such as pasta, beans, and lentils. They will entertain themselves 'cooking', sorting the foods, putting them in and out of pots and so on, leaving you clear to prepare their proper dinner!
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