I recently had an email that asked me:
What can I give my toddler to do in the kitchen?
Aside from the common sense safety basics (heat, sharp objects), you really have very few limitations in the kitchen.
The first time Kaylee ever kneaded dough, she still had a pacifier in her mouth (I wish I could find that picture.) That made her younger than 3. Now, at 13, she can make anything. She can read just about any recipe, follow the instructions, and create. I let her cook without restraint, and have, just this year, started letting her cook even if I’m not home.
Scott is almost 4. He stirs, mixes, kneads, measures, pours, grates, and zests. If I have something soft to cut up (a melon, for instance) he even has a plastic knife that looks like an alligator that he uses to saw through the softer foods. He’s learning what the measurements mean, the basics of fractions, and the difference between baking powder and baking soda.
Johnathan just turned 2. He stirs, pours, and even helps Scott zest. He’s learning to identify ingredients and how to count as we measure. As he grows more confident with the use of his hands, I’ll add more tasks for him to do.
When you do food the way our family does food — homemade, home preserved, home baked — then you have to let your kids into the kitchen to help. The only other option is to leave the kids unsupervised for hours of the day, or to spend my downtime in the kitchen while they sleep. Neither on of those options really work for me. I much prefer my kids by my side helping me do what I love to do.
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