Cooking with preschoolers

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from ml2620-2. Show ml2620-2's posts

    Cooking with preschoolers

    In response to misslily's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    Thanks everyone for the suggestions. One of the books about feeding kids mentions the part about having them cook with you. I try when I can, but it's such a mess, and can be dangerous trying to watch 2 toddlers in the kitchen at the same time. We'll get there slowly I guess.[/QUOTE]

    I didn't want to hijack MissLilys post, but I've actually been meaning to post this question about what to cook with kids. DD LOVES to cook and does it quite a bit, probably something every day (because it's easy when you have one and no distractions). We wash veggies together, and DH or I slice veggies and she assembles the salads (often in very funny ways). She helps me make french toast on the weekends, telling me all the ingredients we need and what the next steps are (I hope to be getting breakfast in bed by the time she's 7 :). I crack eggs into a cup and she pours them into the bowl, she adds cinnamon and nutmeg, tells me when we have enough milk and dips the bread, all relatively safe. The mixer when making cookies or cakes makes me nervous, but we do it. So does making meatballs or handling meat of any kind (which we don't), We try and include her with everything, and am just looking for new ideas.

    What do you cook with your pre-schoolers?

     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Cooking with preschoolers

    ml, those are all the same things we do in my friend's kitchen with the 3 yo (on her stool), and I don't have any more suggestions.  However, regarding your unease of using the stand mixer with her, they make pouring shields that serve two purposes.  First, they keep your hands away from the bowl and moving paddle when you add ingredients (which is I assume what is making you nervous with DD).  And, they also prevent flour poof. :)  I have one for our Viking, and I know they make them for KitchenAid.  I highly recommend it!

     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from KMMZ1012. Show KMMZ1012's posts

    Re: Cooking with preschoolers

    We actually do a lot of cooking with DS. He's 3.5, but we started cooking with him a year ago. We do a lot of baking with him (he *loves* the mixer). When we make banana bread, he mashes the bananas and measure the ingredients, etc. Same thing with cookies. He helped me make a cake for DH's birthday.


    As far as everyday cooking, he cracks the eggs for scrambled eggs and uses the whisk. This weekend DH let him flip the pancakes on the griddle (mixed results) and put the chocolate chips or blueberries on the cakes when they're on the stove. We let him roll out his own pizza dough and put the toppings on himself.

    He loves to cook and it's fun for me, too (although I forgot to hang up my wool coat this weekend while he was rolling out the pizza dough, so I have a flour covered coat, but c'est la vie. That's what dry cleaners are for). The mess is worth it. And now that he's into doing the dishes, we have a helper for that too.

    We still don't let him do knives or the stove, but he doesn't seem to mind not doing that part.  He just likes to help. Anytime I have to open cans, I let him do the can opener. If he can push buttons (the Cuisinart), he does that too. We did let him make his own turkey burger patties the other day, but catching him before he stuck his hands in his face was a challenge. Next time, I'll have a washcloth ready to clean his hands before he moves away from the counter.

    I love to cook and it makes me so happy to see him having fun too.

     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from amy-lynn. Show amy-lynn's posts

    Re: Cooking with preschoolers

    We wound up making biscuits yesterday for breakfast because DD wanted to help make them. She helps measure the dry goods - I pick out the right sized measuring spoon and tell her how many spoons we need for the salt, sugar, baking soda, etc. I usually do the initial mix of the dough, but DD helps to sprinkle the flour on before we knead, and she loves kneading and patting out the dough. She has plastic cookie cutters that we use, and the Easter bunny brought new ones, so we had bunny and flower shaped biscuits. Once all the biscuits are cut, there is usually a little blob of dough that is too small to use for a biscuit, so DD plays with that while the biscuits bake. 

    Most of our cooking is breakfast foods, since it seems like weekend mornings are the most relaxed time to cook with DD, so scrambled eggs, pancake and waffle batters, biscuits, muffins and french toast are all things we make together. She also loves smoothies, so we put all the ingredients into the blender (banana, frozen fruit like strawberries and blueberries, milk and greek yogurt, often with a squeeze of chocolate syrup) and she licks the yogurt off the spoon while I blend everything together. She doesn't like the noise of the blender, so she isn't into pushing the buttons, but if she was into it, I would let her once I was sure the lid was on. 

    At dinner time, we let her help with things like salting the pasta water, or putting salt and pepper on things, mixing stuff in a bowl, like for a casserole or sauce, but she isn't as involved with dinner prep, mostly because it tends to be a bit more hectic, and I am not ready to let her stir things on the stove. She does love to help make pizza (we buy the dough from the grocery, or if we plan ahead, we get Bertucci's dough). And for lasagna or enchiladas or any other item that gets a layer of shredded cheese, she loves to spread that on (then eat a bunch of the cheese that is stuck to her hand!) 

    We have a stool for her to stand on, and I try and have her sit at the table when she is mixing things, because she can kneel on a chair and get better leverage (less likely to fling stuff out of the bowl). But messes are inevitable, so I try to prevent some by making sure her sleeves are rolled up, or she wears an apron, and that I set her up to work on an uncrowded counter if stuff is getting flung everywhere, so I don't have to clean off the coffemaker or toaster as well as the counter. 

     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from KAM2007. Show KAM2007's posts

    Re: Cooking with preschoolers

    I love to cook with DS. But have decreased the amount I do since DD (18 mo) wants to be involved to and I 1) only have one stool for them to stand on and 2) little work space so they constantly fight over space. Currently working on getting a rollaway island (tiny kitchen) that I can roll to the middle of the kitchen and have them both on either side-managing the two different skill levels is tough.

    Prior to her interest DS would cook anything with me.

    For chopping: I started him with a plastic knife, then he moved to a butter knife, now he grabs a small knife from the knife block-I do have incredible heart burn when he does this, but he recites the rules to me constantly and shows me how slowly and safely he cuts. I let him cut any veggie.

    Mixing-he mixes with spoon or hand mixer (with me like a hemroid).

    Measuring-he'll crack the eggs, measure ingredients with my help-though he thinks he can do the measuring all by himself, so if I turn around I never know how much flower/sugar has been added to anything!

    Raw items: he will roll meatballs, mush them up with his hands-knows to wash them immediately before touching anything.

    He loves to flip pancakes when I use the griddle. He knows not to go near the stove when I'm using that.

    He likes to tell DH how to make certain things, pancakes, guacamole (esp how to cut the avacados).

    I got a cook book-Pretend Soup-which has all the recipes in pictures for the kids. so it shows how many eggs pictorially so the kids can cook all on their own. Prob is the recipes are really boring. Like fruit salad.

     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from misslily. Show misslily's posts

    Re: Cooking with preschoolers

    I find baking to be the most fun and most successful. As I mentioned, it's hard with twins, but we do the following:

    Cookies - measuring and stiring. If it's rolled cookies (like sugar cookies) they love to try and use the rolling pin and of course they LOVE cutting out the shapes.

    Bread is great for kneading - quick breads are fun - you can mash up bananas for banana bread.

    I peel and slice potatoes for mashed potatoes and my DD puts them in the pot of water (cold and on the counter). My son likes to put his spinach littles and chicken nuggets on the tray - then I put it in the toaster oven. Not exactly cooking - but he thinks it's fun.

    they like to put their frozen waffles or bread, or english muffins in the toaster - then I turn it on.

    I let them help wash fruit and veggies in the colandar.

    Personally I'd never let them play with a raw egg or raw meat at this age. I just don't want to risk having them get food poisoning.

     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from lissafro. Show lissafro's posts

    Re: Cooking with preschoolers

    Tie the hair back when using an electric mixer! 

    We cook/bake a lot.  I always count aloud, using fractions too.  I remember kids struggling with fractions in school and I could do the basic ones in my head because I could SEE them in my mind's eye from baking with my Mum, so I try to incorporate that part into all the stuff we do.  DD is very good at following directions, so we're OK with raw egg stuff since she KNOWS she shouldn't eat raw egg.  She likes to carry the ingredients from the cupboard to the table, as well as all the measuring implements and bowls and whatnot.  It takes more time but she is so proud.  I just stand there with the recipe and she scurries back and forth. 

    For dinner, she loves to wash potatoes at the sink, as well as other vegetables.  The girl can operate a salad spinner at warp speed haha.  Patting things dry with paper towels is good too. Anything with a food processor is great because she can push the button and everythings all enclosed anyway.  She likes to spray the nonstick spray to grease the pan but she needs a lot of help/guidance so she doesn't spray the wrong way or block the stream with her finger.  Pinching and sprinkling spices is fun, as is sprinkling/arranging pizza toppings.

     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Cooking with preschoolers

    Baking was how I learned fractions, too, lissa...good point.

     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from ml2620-2. Show ml2620-2's posts

    Re: Cooking with preschoolers

    These are all great ideas. I think as the weather gets warmer it will be fun to have her mix up marinades in ziplock bags and marinate veggies (and maybe meat), shake them around, that sort of stuff, plus if I can keep it outside it will minimize the mess!

    Funny, I was horrible at fractions and my mother never cooked with me (she was a mac and cheese with hot dogs kind of mom). Hopefully, my DD will be smarter for all this cooking!

     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from medfordcc. Show medfordcc's posts

    Re: Cooking with preschoolers

    Thank you guys for these great ideas!  DD loves to measure the dry ingredients for baking (with assistance) and crack the eggs (she cracks them on the counter and then hands them to me to break into the bowl).  But I've been looking for ideas that apply more to an actual meal and not just baked goods, so this is great.

    I was wondering: do you let them stand on chairs?  We have a stool, but it's still too low for her to really work at the counter and it's frustrating for her (and me).  She's really short for her age, and some of you remember that she was really late to stand/walk.  So I think maybe I have been overprotective since her gross motor skills were not so hot and she fell down a lot??  I was looking at the learning tower type things, which are amazing, but we don't have room right now, and if we do move I was wondering if it was worth the investment or if I should just take a deep breath and let her stand on a chair.

     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from ml2620-2. Show ml2620-2's posts

    Re: Cooking with preschoolers

    Med, DD stands on a chair, but we have a really, really small kitchen (think cubicle sized, with sink and stove!) so she's never more than an arms reach away. I have looked at the learning tower, but for the price it doesn't necessarily seem worth it. I keep looking for them second hand, but even second hand people seem to want almost $200 for them. And my small kitchen can't handle another piece of anything in it!

     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from misslily. Show misslily's posts

    Re: Cooking with preschoolers

    We do have a learning tower which is great. If I didn't have one, I get a two step style step stool with rubber on the steps and on the feet. I think that's safer than a chair.

    And you're not being overprotective. It's a long fall from a chair to a hard kitchen floor. :)

     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from lissafro. Show lissafro's posts

    Re: Cooking with preschoolers

    If you use a chair, turn it so the back of the chair is against the counter.  This seems counterintutive, because you'd think having the back there to "protect" her would be better, but in my experience, kids are more likely to lean in a weird way and TIP the entire chair over or flip/fall OVER the back of the chair if it's behind them because they feel more enclosed than they really are. 

    We have a step stool from IKEA that was about 10$ I think and that works well.  It's wooden and fairly heavy, so it doesn't tip, and it has treads so it's non-skid. 

    Also, if DD wants to help and there's nothing for her to do because of the type of meal I'm making, I just throw some dishes in the sink so she can "wash" them and play.  It gets a little soggys ometimes but it's worth the peace.

     

     

     

     
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from CT-DC. Show CT-DC's posts

    Re: Cooking with preschoolers

    what about taller step stool "stairs" that have really tall handles?  check these 2 out at Discount School Supply (one of the "secret" places that we shop at in the childcare biz) At $109 or $189 they aren't cheap, but they'll get lots of use to be able to reach the sink for real and also to reach counters and 'cook'.  I'd let them stand in a chair when they are 4 yrs old, but at 21/2 yrs old, I'm not sure she wouldn't forget and lean over funny.  On the other hand, your daughter might be a better candidate for standing in the chair because she might be more careful about her gross motor skills, and be more cautious and careful than, for example, Mislilly's son, who is a serious monkey climber who should NEVER be encouraged to be in a chair, since he does it without encouragement - someday we are going to open up these boards and find a photo of her son ON TOP OF the refrigerator like a cat!

    http://www.discountschoolsupply.com/Product/ProductDetail.aspx?Product=22517&rec=SRH

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    http://www.discountschoolsupply.com/Product/ProductDetail.aspx?Product=29792&rec=SRH

     

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  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from misslily. Show misslily's posts

    Re: Cooking with preschoolers

    I came in the other day and he had climbed onto the counter and was reaching waaaay upppp hiiigh into the top cabinet where I keep the cookies.

    And he was in the pedestal sink in the bathroom the other day. One false move and he would have slipped and fallen onto the tile floor.

    I should just put a helmet on him first thing in the morning.

    :)

     
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Cooking with preschoolers

    Misslily, my triplet friend's husband was a monkey/climber when he was that age, and her MIL takes sick joy in telling my friend how much fun she'll have with 3 boys with Dad's climber genes...omg.

     
  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from ml2620-2. Show ml2620-2's posts

    Re: Cooking with preschoolers

    MissLily, I hope you take pictures!

     
  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from misslily. Show misslily's posts

    Re: Cooking with preschoolers

    ML - I wish I did - but I'm always running to get him down before something horrible happens. Never have time to get the camera. I guess if I'd get with the program and get a smart phone I'd have it with me. Can you believe I still have a little flip phone? I never use it anyway. I'm home most of the time so I've been reluctant to pay extra for a data package. Just take the cell in case we need it in an emergency. I can't even text!

     
  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from purplecow89. Show purplecow89's posts

    Re: Cooking with preschoolers

    If you have room in your kitchen, get a kids' table and let them work on that. 

    Once they are more coordinated, the wooden "porter" step stools from Bed Bath and Beyond are nice.  Sturdy and they have a slot in the top that makes them easy to pick up and move around.  We used them in the kitchen and bathroom for years and I still have one so I can reach the top cabinet shelf.

     
  20. You have chosen to ignore posts from medfordcc. Show medfordcc's posts

    Re: Cooking with preschoolers

    Thanks for all the ideas!  And, for letting me know I'm not crazy either way.  :)

    Unfortunately, we don't really have room right now for a kid table or the stair steps (those are awesome!), but maybe I'll see if I can find a 2-step stool with a smaller footprint (and that I can carry out of the kitchen when we're done).  Purplecow, do you have a link for that?  My searching is coming up empty.  I got the tallest single-step stool I could find, but it's really still too low.

    CT - you are right that she is very cautious, especially when getting up and down from things.  However, she did fall over this AM (went to lean on something that moved), which was not confidence inspring!

     
  21. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Cooking with preschoolers

    Check out this 5 star one from Lowes:

    Rubbermaid 2-Step Plastic Step Stool

    Item #: 140459 |  Model #: FG420903WHT

     
  22. You have chosen to ignore posts from misslily. Show misslily's posts

    Re: Cooking with preschoolers

    Med - try one of these. Folds up and goes in the kitchen closet.

     

    http://www.amazon.com/Rubbermaid-RM-HSP2-2-Step-Lightweight-Steel/dp/B0063QRL9S/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1365720125&sr=8-7&keywords=step+stool

     
  23. You have chosen to ignore posts from lissafro. Show lissafro's posts

    Re: Cooking with preschoolers

    This is the one we have.  It's light enough to pick up with one hand (there's a hole int he top which helps) but heavy enough to be sturdy.  It's high enough too.

    http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/60178887/

     

     

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