When I cook, my daughter is usually happy to play nearby in the living room. But I’ve been trying to find little ways to involve her in the kitchen.
Sometimes, I simply give her different objects to play with. Plastic containers of sprinkles make great maracas (as long as they stay closed). A colander and a wooden spoon make a fun drum set. The colander can double as a peek-a-boo hat—my daughter figured that one out all by herself!
When I made her birthday cupcakes, she helped by putting the papers in the muffin cups. She mostly just played with them, but I loved seeing her focus as she experienced something for the first time. It’s amazing how something that seems mundane to me is exciting for her. Children are so full of wonder. It’s beautiful. The next few times we tried this activity, she wanted to eat the little papers—I like to think she was pretending there was already something good inside. Since I couldn’t seem to keep them away from her curious little taste buds, we took a break.
Then, we started eating a lot of muffins. My husband enjoys eating these healthy carrot oatmeal muffins for breakfast, and my daughter and I love snacking on these peanut butter banana oatmeal muffins.
As “Muffins with Mom” became a more regular part of life, I decided it was time to try the baking activity again, but with one more step.
I gave my sweet girl a mini muffin pan, a stack of tiny paper baking cups, and some big pom-poms I had left over from something else. I showed her how to put the cups in the tray, then add a pom-pom to each one. Voila—her very own muffins! It didn’t hold her attention for too long, but she was focused very proud of her accomplishments.I’d say she’s off to a great start as my little kitchen assistant.
What are your favorite ways to involve little ones in the kitchen? I’d love to hear your creative ideas!