Today I am sharing some practical life food prep ideas for two-year-olds! It is SO important to follow your child's development. Your child may be ready for some of these activities like peeling a banana earlier at 18 months. There are other activities that your child might not be ready for until they are three years old. You know your child best so please use these ideas as a guide only.
I have listed these activities chronologically. The first activities are for younger children and the activities at the end are for older. There is a big difference in the skill level of a child at 24 months compared to 35 months.
We can allow our children to participate in food preparation as much as possible, often when we are in the kitchen there is some way the child can help. Let's take a look at some of our favourite food prep activities at two years.
Above is four different ways we can present a banana to allow the child to peel it independently. Slices, pieces, half and whole. 🍌
Shell peas. If the child struggles to get the pod open we can cut the ends off the pod first or cut the pod open before presenting them to the child. This is fantastic for developing the pincer grasp.
Scrub and wash vegetables.
Help unpack and put away fruit and vegetables. This can be used as a language activity, we can give the child the name of the fruits and vegetables as they unpack them.
Mash bananas, or other soft foods like avocado. We make a lot of banana muffins so we use a lot of mashed banana. This helps to strengthen the hands.
Scoop out an avocado. Scooping out the fruit helps to develop coordiantion.
Peel a mandarin.
Segment a mandarin.
Cut an egg with a knife. A butter knife would work fine here.
Squeeze an orange. This is hard work for the young child and they may need some help to get all the juice out.
Pour juice into a glass.
If you have an electric juicer, you can show your child how to use that too! Here the child just presses the orange down and the juicer spins.
Slice mushrooms or eggs, with an egg slicer.
Oil a muffin tray or cake tin. We use a pastry brush and olive oil. This is just like painting.
Whisk. Here the child is whisking eggs.
Put food into a food processor. The child can also put ingredients into a blender for smoothies.
Pour ingredients into a pan.
Crack eggs (Otto doesn't like this!)
Sprinkle. The child can sprinkle dried herbs onto roast veggies. Here the child is sprinkling cheese.
Pour water using a water dispenser. At this age, the child is able to pour their own drink using a pitcher, jug or water dispenser. We use the small Ikea RIKO glasses.
Knead dough. Here we are making bread together.
Pour ingredients. We can allow our child to help with baking as much as possible.
Use a rolling pin. Our children's rolling pin is c/o Manine Montessori.
If your child is using scissors they can cut herbs. Here the child is cutting mint.
Pick or cut herbs from a bush or a bunch. Here the child is picking parsley.
Slice soft foods with a knife.
Here the child is cutting zucchini with a serrated knife. I have pre-cut the zucchini (and other vegetables) so the pieces sit flat on the chopping board and so that it is easy for the child to chop, while they are still learning how to use the serrated knife. Our most used knife at two-three years is the Kuhn Rikon Knives. In Australia, the KiddiKutter is a good option.
While working at the kitchen bench we use the Sprout Kitchen Helper.
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