Creative Child

Cooking with Your Toddler

by Brittany Ferrell

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Step Two: Gather Your Supplies

After you’ve successfully amassed all of your groceries, it’s time to gather all of your necessary supplies and explain how each tool works before you begin. Not only does this activity continue building your toddler’s vocabulary, but it’s also a great time to have your safety talks. It’s important that your toddler understands that the things you use in the kitchen are tools, not toys. Role-playing ahead of time with pretend cooking tools is a great way to introduce this concept to your little fussy eater.

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Take the time to explain which items are sharp, heavy, and/or fragile. You may deem certain tools “off limits” that only mommy or daddy can use, but also point out which tools are just for your toddler. Spend a good deal of time talking about the stovetop and the oven, as well. You may decide that these appliances are on the “off limits” list.

My daughter is incredibly curious and rather than constantly trying to prevent her proximity to the stove and oven, I taught her how I use them safely. To illustrate how these appliances can become very hot and harmful, I guided her hand at a safe distance and allowed her to feel the heat. I explained to her that the knobs on the stove are just for mommy and daddy and that I keep them in the locked position when not in use. I have found that my daughter is so grateful to be included in the cooking process that following my very strict rules has not been an issue.

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Last, but not least, every good cook must maintain cleanliness! Proper handwashing is key and to ensure the correct amount of scrubbing time, we sing a song like “Happy Birthday” or the “Alphabet Song” while we wash. I like to have all of our tools and groceries out and ready to use, in the order we will use them, to keep the process organized, but I also let my daughter know that making a mess is sometimes half the fun!

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