I have mentioned before that I am making an effort to involve Kenley in the kitchen. What does this look like practically? Glad you asked! Here are my thoughts on involving a 2 and a half year old in the kitchen:
Tip #1: Choose something to make that is not a necessity for a meal. If I am getting dinner ready and trying to coordinate all the different components of our meal to be done at the same time, it is probably not the best time to involve Kenley. I like to involve Kenley in the "extras": cookie dough balls, crackers, feeding the sourdough starter, adding ingredients to mixing bowls, putting things in the juicer, etc.
Tip #2: Kids like dedicated tasks to be "theirs". For Kenley right now this means that I scoop the ingredients into the measuring cup or spoon and it is her job to dump that into the bowl. She also usually gets to stir the ingredients together until it is "mommy's turn". Sprinkling cheese is also a great task but a lot of cheese seems to disappear from grater to plate over here :).
Tip #3: Explain to your kids what the ingredients are that are going into their food! I love explaining to Kenley that bees make honey and it is naturally sweet just as it is! My goal is to make healthy food fun and tasty so that when she is grown and out on her own she will not go out and overdose on white flour and HFCS! I often think about the fact that as I am instilling these cooking abilities to Kenley they will benefit my future son-in-law and grandchildren! As Kenley gets older baking will also be a great way to incorporate fractions and math too!
Tip #4: Plan kitchen time for when siblings are occupied with something else! When little CLo goes down for her morning nap around 11 is the best time for Kenley and I to cook and have our alone time. It is early enough that we can prepare breads that will be eaten around dinner time and it is also early enough that I can have time to clean up whatever dishes we create before Daddy comes home!
Tip #5: Don't stress if the finished product doesn't look like it does on Pinterest. It is always okay to go back and fix it later but it is not okay to get mad at your child for not doing something the way that it "should" be. I know someone (who shall not be named) who hates to cook and I think that the reason for that is in large part because when she was a child her mother would freak out if she didn't do things just so. She couldn't handle the pressure that her mother put on her in this area and it turned her off to cooking completely. That makes me so sad because cooking and baking are so much about creativity! I want to foster that creativity in my kids!
Tip #7: They will make a mess. You will be cleaning flour off of random surfaces in your home. They will most likely need a bath. They will eat a spoonful of the flour. They will probably sneak some chocolate chips and put their fingers in the honey jar and then touch their hair and your hair and the table.... If you know ahead of time that you will be cleaning up a big mess then it isn't as big of a deal when you actually are cleaning up the mess and the kid who is covered in chocolate.
Tip #8: Prepare your heart. If you go into the event with a great attitude then you and your children will be blessed with making memories together. Flour on the floor, honey in your hair, and all!
Those are my tips! I hope they inspire you to get cooking with your kids!
Oh and last but not at all least......Make these crackers! They are amazing and taste like cheez-its even though there is no actual cheese in the recipe just good ol' pastured butter! Seriously!