Cooking with toddlers is not only fun, but also a valuable learning experience. Cooking engages all senses, namely seeing, smelling, hearing, touching and tasting. So when you cook with your toddler, you provide them with a fabulous sensory input that is very important for the development of their brain. When your baby watches you cooking, they will want to do the same thing. There are probably thousands of toddler recipes that you can choose from if have a toddler and you want to cook with them. If you want to have an easy and fun time, you should look for recipes that are toddler-friendly. They need to be very forgiving, stress-free, intuitive and very simple to understand.
Why Cook With Toddlers?
Kids start learning things at a very young stage. So when you cook with your toddler, you will be providing them with beneficial learning experience. They may take it like a game, but in the end they will learn how to cook when they are still very young. It is not only the toddler that is going to benefit when you cook with them, but also you as the parent or guardian. You are going to get a chance to spend some quality time with the kid and bond with them. If you have a very busy schedule, that may be one of the times that you will get to hang out with your kid and just have fun time with them.
Benefits of Cooking With Toddlers
Cooking with toddlers is nothing short of awesome. You will not only be teaching them how to cook, but helping them in many different ways that you probably never imagined. The following are the benefits of cooking with toddlers.
- It Will Teach the Toddler Maths Skills
When preparing a recipe with your little one, you will need to talk about what you are adding. Recipes often include fractions, with some of them calling for ingredients to be measured in weight or wet and dry volume. Your kid will be exposed to these ideas at a very young age and start seeing math in the real life context. The practice is going to help lay a basic math foundation for them.
- The Toddler Will Learn Good Communication skills
To prepare a meal together with your toddler, it will take clear communication for the process to be successful. You will need to read through the recipe and give your little one instructions that will help them follow through the cooking steps. By so doing, you are going to them learn how to communicate and follow instructions.
- It Will Help the Toddlers Develop Life Skills Easily
Cooking is a life skill just like learning to read, swim or driver a car. When the toddler grows up, the job of feeding will become theirs. By starting cooking lessons at a tender age, they are going to have an easy time transitioning to adult cooking when that time comes.
- It Will Boost the Toddler’s Confidence and Self Esteem
When you prepare simple, no fail recipes with your little one, you are setting them up for success. Creating with them something that that they are able to eat and enjoy from scratch will give them the confidence to try new things. Since they are going to get instant feedback, they will learn and grow in self-knowledge which in turn will help with healthy self-esteem development.
- It is Fun
Last but not least, cooking with toddlers is fun. Enjoying cooking with your little one in the kitchen is going to help build positive memories, good food and good vibes.
Tips for Cooking Toddlers
With a little preparation, cooking with your little one can be lots of fun and stress-free. The following are some of them things that you should do to make the process successful.
- With a little preparation, cooking with your little one can be lots of fun and stress-free. The following are some of them things that you should do to make the process successful.
- Try to keep the cooking experience as short as possible in order to match the attention span of the toddler. Before you begin cooking, be sure to pre-measure the ingredients you intend to use and have them individually separated. Allow the toddler to add the ingredients to the mixing pot or bowl.
- Make sure that mixing and stirring is included in the cooking experience because toddlers love to mix and stir.
- When cooking with a toddler, expect things to get a little bit messy. This is part of the learning process too. The good news is that toddlers also love to help clean up the mess that they will make.
Top Recipe for Cooking With Toddlers
There are many toddler friendly recipes that you can try. The following are some of them.
#1. Reindeer Cupcakes
Preparing reindeer cupcakes is a great way to teach your toddler how to bake. They are very sweet treats that your toddler cannot resist. You will probably be preparing with them every day. The following is a simple way to prepare them.
Fairy Cake Recipe Ingredients:
- 125g of butter
- 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla essence
- 125g of caster sugar
- 2 large eggs
- Mini smarties (sugar coated candy)
- Chocolate butter icing (or readymade chocolate frosting)
- Large or normal sized smarties or glace cherry for the nose
- Mini pretzels/twiglets for the antlers
How to Prepare:
- To make the fairy cake for the reindeer cakes, what you will need to do is cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl. After doing that, add the vanilla essence and then beat the eggs. Add the eggs to the creamed sugar and butter with a spoonful of flour between each. Once you have done that, mix in the rest of the flour and then add a little milk.
- Let the toddler to divide the mixture between different cupcake cases and also decorate the cupcake case with the mixture. If they want to decorate the table too, let them to that.
- After that, put the cupcakes in the oven at 200 degrees Celsius for 10 to 20 minutes until they are properly cooked. They should turn golden on top. You will need to keep an eye on the toddler when the cupcakes are cooking in the oven to prevent burns or accidents.
#2. Cheese Puffs
Cheese puffs are very simple for toddlers to make. They make a great lunch box treat or an afternoon snack.
- Puff pastry (two sheets)
- 1 tablespoon of water
- 1 egg
- Grated cheese (You can use Colby, cheddar, Romano or Parmesan, mozzarella, or a combination of your favorites)
- A bowl
- Pastry brush
- Small whisk or fork
- Baking tray
- Biscuit or cookie cutters
- Baking paper
How to Prepare:
- First of all, you will need to lay out your puff pastry sheets to defrost and then pre-heat your oven to 180ºC.
- After, let the toddler lightly beat the egg and water together in order to form an egg wash.
- Using the biscuit cutter, cut shapes from the puff pastry.
- Take the shapes that you have cut and then lay them onto a sheet of baking paper on your baking tray. After doing that, brush them with the egg wash.
- Take a little cheese and then sprinkle it onto each shape.
- Allow them to bake for ten minutes. The cheese should have melted and pastry puffed after that.
Once that is done, you can enjoy eating the delicious cheese puffs with your toddler or the rest of your family.
#3. Weetbix Slice
This is a delicious and simple slice that you can make with your toddler using breakfast weetbix. It is very easy to prepare.
- 3 WeetBix crushed
- 1 cup desiccated coconut
- 1 1/2 cups plain flour
- 3/4 cups brown sugar
- 125g butter or margarine
- 1 cup chocolate buds, for icing
How to Prepare:
- First, you will need to grease and line a tray with baking paper.
- After that, combine all dry ingredients mentioned above with butter or margarine. Let the toddler do this part.
- Place the mixture into a tray with a spoon and then allow it to bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 25 minutes
- Wait until the slice is cool and then smooth over melted chocolate
- Once that is done, serve and enjoy eating with your toddler.
These are just but a few recipes that you can enjoy cooking with toddlers. There are many others that you can try such as chocolate truffles, Anzac biscuits, pizza, snail scrolls, veggie kebabs and so on. Your toddler is going to gain so much from the cooking experience that you will involve them in. It may not seem like it especially if you have a playful kid, but all in all they will be learning something. They will see you measuring ingredients and start learning how they are supposed to be combined together. They will also learn about various foods and the effects that they have on their bodies. Through sensory exploration, they will get to know about food textures.