Doesn't your kitchen just beg you to bake in the fall? Or is that just me? Even though we live in South TX where summer never ends (I thought I would never say that with an eye roll...) I have still been in a fall-ish mood lately and I've been getting back into the baking groove again!
Ever since Little M was teeny tiny, she's spent time with me in the kitchen. The kitchen is one of my favorite places. Baking is like therapy to me. Cooking a yummy dinner for my family is totally my love language. Is cooking even a choice as a love language? I'm not sure, I haven't read that book, haha! I'm sure like most parents out there, I wish for my kids to share some of my interests one day! I sure hope we can share a love of making food and that it can be something we do together for years to come! So...I'm doing my best to mold this little girl into an expert kitchenista as young as humanly possible!
Ah! This picture just makes me melt! She was SO LITTLE! This was when she was just a few months old, already hanging in the kitchen with mama! (And yes - I see that Bumbo is close to the edge. She wasn't wiggly yet and I was right there) :-)
Since I've been including Little M in my kitchen adventures for the last 12 months or so, I thought I would share some tips on how to make it work with such little kids! It's TOTALLY possible! Now that we have our little "kitchen helper stand" (more on that in a bit) Little M BEGS to join me in the kitchen. We've already had so much fun together whipping up little bites of love! You know what else is cool about it? I have seen a HUGE correlation between the food we make together and the food she devours at the dinner table. If I involve her in the cooking process, she almost always eats whatever it is! And this is a 1 year old! It really helps with older kids too who may be pickier!
A few notes before we start...
Remember! The kitchen can be a dangerous place. Be sure to supervise your kids of any age at all times! And - this post contains some affiliate links. Purchasing through these links doesn't cost you a cent more, but helps support my blogging (and baking) habits! Thanks for supporting Home Field Fitness!
10 Tips for Baking with Littles!
#1. Be prepared!
While I like to include Little M in everything, it is SUPER helpful to take 5 minutes of naptime to set out ingredients and utensils before you get started. Plus, it makes you feel like you're on the Food Network when you have everything right there! I also like to set the mood with aprons and some singing quality music. Typically 90's boy bands or Disney soundtracks because you know, only the best.
#2. Have a designated place for your Little.
This could be a Bumbo seat for really young ones, a high chair that you can bring into the kitchen or a kitchen helper stand for once they can stand! We absolutely LOVE this one! When your kids have their own safe place to help you from, it will help them stay engaged and involved instead of running off.
#3. Give them their own gadgets
This doesn't mean you have to go out and buy special kid kitchen tools (although these are really cute!). Just give them one of your plastic mixing bowls or measuring cups, a teaspoon or spatula and let them "work" away! Little M loves to stir!
#4. Talk through the recipe as you go
Regardless of how old your kiddos are, there is so much benefit to talking through these recipes. It helps with language development and they really do understand and soak up more than you even know. As they get older you focus on numbers (1 scoop! 2 teaspoons!), maybe the colors of the bowls you are using and sequencing (what comes next).
#5. Let them taste stuff!
I mean, come on - isn't that why you like to make food too? Of course they can't always eat all of the raw ingredients (look out for raw eggs!) but a lot of times it's totally fine to lick the beaters. There is typically at least one ingredient they can eat while you're cooking.
#6. Let them help as much as possible!
We started with stirring. It can be messy, but they will love it! As they grow, you can decide what jobs (stirring, pouring, measuring) they can help with.
#7. Keep a washcloth nearby
You have to be realistic. You kitchen will probably be messier if you have a little one helping you. But I promise you it's totally worth it! I keep a big damp rag right next to us and try to keep up with the mess as we go as much as I can.
#8. Teach kitchen safety!
It's never to early to establish rules in the kitchen. We always talk about how the oven and stove is hot. We talk about sharp knives that only mommy can use.
#9. Let them help wash the dishes
Hey! We may as well get them to do the dirty work too! Littles don't know that it's a chore...it's water and bubbles OH SO MUCH FUN! Maybe one day it will all pay off and they'll offer to wash the dishes FOR you!
10. Enjoy eating what you've made together!
We like to watch our muffins rise up in the oven with the light on, and can barely wait for them to cool off before we both dig in!
I hope and your littles find as much joy in the kitchen as we do - I would love to hear how your creations turn out!
how about you?
Do you like to include your kiddos in the kitchen?
How do you make it fun for both of you?
It's great to see you! I'm Alyssa and I blog about all the things I've found "essential" in my life as a fit mama and football coach's wife. You'll find all kinds of fun stuff here like workouts, oily info, football stories and more!
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I am not a licensed medical professional. All views expressed on this website are based on my own personal research and experiences. Please consult your doctor with any medical issues before beginning a training program.
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