Often, it’s not so much that your kids need to have an “activity” to play with but more they just want to mirror what mummy or daddy is doing around the house, especially in the kitchen. “What are you doing?” Before you know it they have sidled up next to you and are wanting to be IN everything. Also how do you get them involved in meal prep when often tasks involve sharp items like knives and peelers?
Tip to Encourage Lil Ones:
- most passive of all: get them to suggest what they would want for dinner tomorrow night or for snack. Hopefully the choices made are good combinations and a healthy option.
- get a high chair that clips onto the work station or a learning tower so they can watch or ask questions about what you are doing.
- Mirror play: many families have a kids play kitchen area or have some old pots and pans they can give to their kids – you can yell out an instruction like “add the carrots!” whilst you are doing the same task and get them to yell back with “yes chef!” – they will love the chaos and excitement of being your mini sous chef.
- Get them involved with tasks and utensils that are safe to use. Like using a kids safe knife and a child safe vegetable peeler. Giving them their own toddler knife to use makes them feel special and independent. By knowing they can do their task of chopping up potatoes for a gratin or carrots for a salad, done from start to finish on their own gives them immense pride. “Look at what I made!” will be heard throughout the entire meal. Other tasks can include: mixing a dressing for the salad in a recycled jam jar (no spills and all the dressing stays contained) or rolling mixtures like patties or dough into balls or whatever shape they like. Sensory fun and is something everyone can do whatever the age.
Some feedback from @walford_wildings in reference to using the Kiddies Food Kutter “I love being able to give my toddler their food cutter to use while I’m doing dinner prep in the kitchen. While she feels like a part of the process she’s also able to work on her cutting skills. I look forward to the day when she can make the salad.”
Before long they will look forward to their daily ritual of being “parents lil helper” who wants to do their assigned task in getting the meal prep done.