How to Make Memories With Your Little Chef
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I have two young kids, and sometimes it can be challenging to find something for them to “help” with in the kitchen. And there’s times when they really need some quality time, but I need to cook dinner!
I love those precious moments when I’m able to make cookies or a meal with my kids at my side without any tears or tantrums. Let’s work on making more of those memories.
I’ve searched the internet and compiled some great gift ideas to help any parent cook with their kids. Just click on the links to see more information about the items. This list is geared towards younger kids who shouldn’t hold sharp knives, or be too close to a hot stove or oven.
Why Bother Cooking With Kids?
Maybe you’ve got your own rhythm going around meal prep in your house. And letting the kids help sounds like it would be more of an annoyance than than a fun activity. Here’s a few benefits to bringing the kids into the kitchen with you.
- If kids help prepare the food in the kitchen, they might actually eat the food at the table. Fewer tantrums at the table sounds pretty great, right?
- It provides teachable moments to explain where food comes from. For example…while peeling a carrot, you can tell them that carrots grow underground. For young kids, this may really fascinate them. You can tell them about all the people who helped bring your food from the farm to your table.
- Instead of turning on a show for the kiddos while you’re cooking dinner, let them grab a step-stool and spend some quality time with you. Kids generally love attention, and like spending time with you.
Cookbooks for Kids
These cookbooks are all written with little chefs in mind.
The Toddler Cookbook – A great book for toddlers and their parents to learn and cook together. The recipes in this book look super tasty.
Forest Feast for Kids – We have this cookbook and our daughter LOVES looking through it. The artwork is beautiful, and the recipe ideas are super fun.
The Science Chef– This book is full of fun kitchen experiments and projects for the science fan (or soon-to-be fan).
Protect their Clothes
Any time we let kiddos in the kitchen, we should be prepared for a mess. I find that when I expect a mess and I’m prepared to clean it up, it’s not such a big deal when it happens (because it WILL happen).
Chef’s hat w/ apron – If your kid really wants to look the part, get them this set with a white apron and a chef’s hat! Don’t forget to take pictures of your sweet young chef in this outfit.
Smock – We have one like this, and it has been extremely useful for our messy activities. We use ours for crafting and cooking. It has sleeves and is waterproof. This will keep even the messiest toddler clean.
Dish rags – Remember what I said about being prepared to clean up the mess? Well these dish rags are super absorbent. Keep a few on hand to wipe up any spills.
Kid Friendly Kitchen Tools
So you’ve got the cookbook and the cleaning gear. Time to get busy! These tools will help with your kitchen experience while you’re cooking with your kids.
Little chef knife – Our oldest daughter was given one of these knives as a gift when she was three. Now, whenever it’s cooking time, she knows which drawer it’s in and tries to start chopping. Note: since this knife is made of plastic, and the intent is for it NOT to be too sharp, it won’t cut hard things without some serious effort.
Rolling pin – Wouldn’t it be fun if your kid had their very own rolling pin? Just put them next to you, give them a chunk of dough to roll out, and be patient. This alone could keep them occupied for quite a while.
Emoji cookie cutters – When we’re making sugar cookies or gingerbread cookies, the cookie cutter step is always a hit with my kids. I just found these emoji cookie cutters and they look so fun!
Pastry brush – This isn’t specifically made for kids, but my kids love it. My toddler loves to just hold it and play with the bristles. If you want to use it as it was intended, kids can definitely help with that, too.
Kid scissors – You probably have kitchen scissors at home, but mine are pretty sharp and I wouldn’t let my young kids use them. What if you had some kid scissors that you keep in the kitchen for those times that you want to let them help cut something…like lettuce or herbs?
Here are a few options if you want to get a whole set instead of individual pieces. Any of these sets would be an awesome gift!
Cupcake and decorating set – This set has cupcake making tools for beginner bakers. Let their creativity blossom with decorating cupcakes.
Knife and cutting board set – This set includes two knives, a cutting board, and some recipe cards. This would make a great gift!
Kitchen junior chef set – This 35 piece set looks awesome! It has the chef apron and hat along with some helpful tools – cookie cutters, spoon, mixing bowl, and more.
Intro to baking set – This 17 piece set comes with a rolling pin, a whisk, rubber spatulas, and more.
Happy Cooking Kits
I recently learned about Kidstir’s Happy Cooking Kits. They offer a monthly cooking boxes that ship directly to your kid (ages 5-10) that include
–3 step-by-step recipes that focus on seasonal ingredients
–2 kid-friendly kitchen tools
–3 puzzles and games
in every box!
No matter what you do, remember that kids are basically mess-machines. It’s how they learn. So embrace the mess!
I hope you have so much fun with your little chef. They’re only young once! Don’t forget to take some pictures to savor the memories.