How to get your little one involved in the kitchen and (hopefully!) inspire a lifetime love of cooking
Having your little one loose in the kitchen might be a daunting prospect but there are lots of ways you can keep them occupied and have fun together. Baking will help teach them new skills, improve their hand-eye coordination and get them interested in cooking early on – here’s how to do it
1. A few ground rules
Make sure the area you’ll be cooking in is clean and tidy and that there are no dangerous objects that little hands can grab hold of. Give them an apron to keep them clean and get them to wash their hands thoroughly before you start. This will help teach them good habits when they’re in the kitchen or handling food. Remember to also supervise them at all times, otherwise who knows where that cake mixture will end up.
2. Sieving, pouring, stirring
Once you’ve got your ingredients and utensils laid out, you’re ready to get stuck in. Whether it’s flour or sugar, helping your toddler sieve and pour any dry ingredients into a mixing bowl is a great way to get things started. Start by guiding them so they get the right action before slowly letting them take over. Once they’ve got the hang of it, they’ll be ready to try adding and stirring the wet ingredients – cue cracked eggshells and yolks everywhere
3. Get creative
The decorating stage is where your toddler will no doubt have the most fun. They can let their imagination run wild as they come up with different patterns and designs. If you’re decorating with dolly mixtures, hundreds and thousands or Smarties as a treat, it’s a good chance to get your toddler talking about shapes and colours.
4. Embrace the mess
It might get a little chaotic and messy at times, and it won’t be the type of baking you’re used to, but keep involving your toddler in the cooking process and it’ll soon become second nature. You’ll love seeing how proud they are of their creations too so keep them engaged by giving them lots of praise and encouragement along the way.
5. The taste test
Let them sample and taste as they go along too to keep them interested but be aware that toddlers can’t eat everything you can. Licking the spoon is definitely off the menu, as cake batter contains raw egg – something babies and toddlers should definitely avoid. You should also avoid giving honey to children under one year of age and keep an eye out for big bits or berries they could choke on.
6. Ready, steady, bake
If you want to put some of our tips to the test, try out some of our toddler friendly baking recipes like these rocky road bars or this family fruit crumble. Visit our recipe section for plenty more tasty recipe ideas.