Wednesday, May 23, 2012

toddler activities - helping in the kitchen

Life has felt very busy the last few weeks, so Genghis and I have not been as creative in our play. But one thing that has been a fun, easy and productive way to spend our time is by cooking.

At 21 month, Genghis has just matured enough to enjoy helping (I use the term loosely) me in the kitchen. In a given day, a lot of my time is spent in the kitchen, so it's been nice to have a companion ... sometimes. I mean, let's be honest, cooking with a 2-yr-old can lead to hypertension pretty quickly.
Here are some tricks we use.

1. Have a kid-proof section of the counter where anything is fair game.

2. Talk a lot about everything you're doing. Genghis, at least, gets very interested in hearing all the details. ("Now I'm opening the flour bucket. We need 2 cups of flour, so that means I need to fill this half cup 4 times and dump it in the bowl. Where's the bowl? That's right. Okay, let's count. One ... ")

3. Let them try all of the ingredients that won't hurt them. Salt and baking powder, yes. Raw chicken, no. I just sprinkle a bit of whatever on the counter and let Genghis have at it. He tells me whether each ingredient is yummy or yucky (high on the list, currently, is flour).

4. Provide an actual yummy thing to snack on if they are getting antsy. I like mini chocolate chips because they take a while to pick up and eat, and aren't too filling in case dinner is going to be soon.

5. Let them do clean up afterwards (or while you're still finishing up) by filling the sink with some water and giving them some cups or washcloths. Genghis loves this part. And he gets everything soaked. But it's just water and actually helps clean the kitchen as I just wipe everything off at the end with a big towel.

This is not a relaxing and mess-free activity. But it's a lot of fun. And I can usually get quite a bit of cooking done. And I'd like to think that Genghis is learning how to help, how to cook, and how to love lots of different kinds of foods.

1 comment:

Kristin McElderry said...

I think it is awesome that you do activities with Genghis that are fun to do and help him learn even if they are sometimes stressful/ a lot to clean up. I think he learns a lot from them and I admire your patience. I hope I can be that kind of parent one day!