Children (including toddlers) can cut, grate, peel, mash, spiralize! Often parents and care givers (including me) totally underestimate what young children are able to do because we are so focused on keeping them safe, on keeping them away from harm. Often we/I also focus on keeping the children and our kitchens clean! But we know that exposing our children to risk is important, we know that providing our children with real experiences and real skills is important, it's critical to their natural development. Children cannot get real skills from cutting wooden fruit.
So what is holding us back? At this time of year (winter) I'm making a lot of soup, I'm making a lot of vegetable curries, vegetable frittatas, we are roasting a lot of vegetables. We are eating a ton of sweet potato, squash, pumpkin and zucchini. There is a lot of work and food prep to do. What we need to do is to invite, be patient, make it interesting, make it fun, offer choice, have a back up plan, go with the flow, and then perhaps our child will join us in the kitchen!!
Get out a new kitchen gadget, get out the slicers, the mini tongs, get out the garlic crushers, the nutmeg grinders, and spiralizers. Rotate the children's kitchen tools (leave out the favourites). Make space. Clear the work bench. Wash the aprons. Pull up a stool or a kitchen helper. Teach your children where food comes from and how to prepare it. Offer real food choices. Offer real experiences.
P.S I love the winter/soup recipes here.
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