Children love to help with household tasks, and cookery is one of the tasks most likely to get their full attention. Not only because cookery has lots of potential for mess, but also because they love to sample the finished results! Getting busy in the kitchen is a great way to bond with your children ? just as shared mealtimes are a great time to chat, cooking and baking can give you plenty of opportunity to have close conversations with your child, whether that might be talking nonsense with your toddler or discussing the issues of the day with an older child.
Browse cookery books with your child, or look online for toddler friendly recipes that your child will enjoy. To turn a cooking session into an all-day adventure, make a list (use pictures so your toddler can read it) of the ingredients you need and then hit the shops to find what you need. Let you little one help you find what you need, chat about what the ingredients are and where they come from? make it fun and educational then head home to the kitchen to get started.
Make sure your toddler knows that there are important things to do before the cookery starts ? washing hands and work surfaces, putting on aprons or old clothes (toddlers plus flour/water/sauce/anything else = mess!). Remind them each time that they must not touch knives or anything hot without help from a grown-up.
Ask your little one what they would like to add to the recipe. To avoid wasting ingredients on some truly mad concoctions (ketchup-topped cupcake anyone?) give them some pre- approved options. Asking a toddler an open question can be disastrous, so instead, give them some choice by offering them a range of options, ?Nuts, berries or chocolate chips (or all three) in the cupcakes today??
Let your little artist design some cupcake boxes or arrange the food on a plate to serve to the family; it will give them pride in their work. Make extra to give to friends or family as surprise gifts or for birthdays and other special occasions.
Keep a scrapbook or folder of recipes that worked well so that you have tried and tested options for future cooking sessions; that way you can fish out a great recipe that you already know when time is limited and still come up with a dish your toddler will love making, and eating.