I love cooking with kiddos. They love to be my little helper, and I love seeing them get excited when they do something new. Almost every night they come up to me with their cutie patootie eyes and ask to help make dinner. Most nights I’m all for it. Even if it just means that they are putting frozen peas into the microwave dish, they’re helping and they love it.
Our Tips for Cooking with Kiddos
Prep as much as you can. Sure, an impromptu cooking session isn’t going to allow for much prep time. But as much as you can prep ahead of time, the better. Either it’s cutting up some veggies before their little fingers come around or measuring out the flour before they start spooning it into the bowl. Try to set up your kitchen like you’re on a cooking show. That way everything is ready to go when they are.
Have a towel ready to go. When you’re cooking with kids, things are going to spill. Embrace it. Preferably with a big towel, ready and waiting to soak up that spilled milk.
Get on their level. Either bring in some stools or move to a shorter table. You want them to be able to safely reach everything that they’re working with.
Keep it safe. Keep their little fingers away from knives and have a game plan for whenever you’re putting things in the oven. We have a cupboard door that the kids have to stand behind when the oven’s open. They can still see, since you know they’re curious, but they have that barrier they know they can’t cross.
Let everyone help. Make sure everyone has a job to do. I like to make them take turns putting ingredients in. Even if it’s one cup for Little Miss and then one cup for Mr Monster. They are both helping. If one is waiting their turn, I ask them to count something…How many ingredients do we have? How many eggs are left in the carton? How many chicken nuggets are on the pan?
Cleaning is part of cooking. Make sure they are helping with the cleanup part of the process too. Rinsing the spoon or throwing away wrappers are all things they can help with.
Get aprons. When I’m cooking with kiddos, I want to be focusing on what they’re doing and living in the moment. The last thing I want to worry about is whether or not they stay clean.
I set off to Etsy to find an apron that would be both cute and functional…Do you know how many aprons there are on Etsy? Tons. It’s hard to find the perfect one. There are frilly one, short ones, long ones, all colors of the rainbow. I was looking for a functional children’s apron, which meant I needed something that was washable, well made, and easy to use. I found one that stood out amidst the competition.
HappyToBeAGrandma’s Fun & Functional Children’s Apron
These are made by Paula at HappyToBeAGrandma and are the perfect tool for cooking with kiddos. Her shop is full of great items, but her aprons are what sold me. I reached out to Paula and asked if I could write a post about her aprons…because they are fantastic!
The first thing that caught my eye was the fact that the aprons didn’t feel too “girlie”. I have a two year old boy that probably wouldn’t enjoy wearing a frilly apron. I picked the army apron, because I knew he would love it.
For Little Miss, there is a perfect pastel butterfly pattern that shimmers. She loves it!
These aprons are well made. Double lined with a great material. I.e. Functional.
Above everything else, my favorite part of these aprons is the fact that the kids can put them on all by themselves. That’s a huge deal when you’re two and wanting to help mommy. It helps give them a sense of independence and confidence. When I first handed the apron to Mr Monster, he looked up at me and asked me to put it on for him. I told him he could do it himself. His eyes lit up! I walked him through his first try, and with little effort, he was able to put it over his head and fasten the Velcro strap. He was so proud of himself. A priceless moment.
You can purchase a matching oven mitt and hot pad (which the kids call their napkins). The oven mitts are now a permanent part of their play kitchens.
Working with Paula has been an absolute treat. You can tell that she loves what she does and takes pride in the quality of her work. I asked her what her favorite part of owning an Etsy shop was.
“My favorite part is when people talk to me and tell me about their family, ie… who the items are for, what ages etc..meeting new people, and being able to make something special for that family. Knowing in some small way, I was a part of making it better for them. I make every item like I was making for my own grandchildren, with quality, love and with safety always in mind.”
You’ve got to check out her shop. It’s full of other fun goodies too.
Like this great tool belt. Mr. Monster loves putting all his tools in the pockets…along with his horsey.
And these adorable purses. Little Miss actually hugged it when she got it in the mail.
You can tell that everything at HappyToBeAGrandma is made with love and care.
Cooking with kiddos can be fun, educational, and exciting. For more than just the kids. Using these tips you can enjoy your time just a bit more.
Check out HappyToBeAGrandma today and get those kids in the kitchen!
We love when the kids help out in the kitchen. It helps them try new food too!