Can Toddlers Really Cook?
A couple of years ago, a lady who owns a daycare contacted me about a cooking class for the kids at her daycare. The kids ranged in ages from 3 to 7 and there were 6 kids in total. I went to teach them a fun Korean menu of scallion pancakes and spinach salad and it was a great experience. It's a really cool daycare, really homey and they do lots of things I approve of like gardening, cooking, explorations of different countries, community service, yoga and meditation!
When she contacted me to do a class for the kids this year, I was excited to see them again. I asked for the age ranges of the kids this year and she said they ranged in age from 2.5 to 7. Ok, sure. No problem! In my mind, there was just one 2.5 year old and most of them were the ages between 3 and 7 years old. Mind you, no one told me that - you know how you just make up stuff in your mind sometimes? :)
When I arrived yesterday to teach the class, I was surprised to see 8 kids waiting at the table ready to cook, and most of them were 2.5 and 3! I took a deep breath and slowed down my teaching style and went for it! There were a lot of adults present to help, which was very lucky for me.
To my pleasant surprise, the kids did a great job! I'm not going to lie, I was really happy that there were other adults available to assist these small chefs with knives and other kitchen tools!
So, if you're wondering what kind of help your toddlers can give you in the kitchen? Let me tell you!
1) Mixing / whisking:
The kids were very happy to mix up things. When you have more than one chef, it's helpful to have them take turns. They can count how many times they mix, and then pass it on to the next chef!
We made guacamole yesterday as part of our Mexican lunch, and the kids were also very happy to mash up the avocado. Pro tip: make sure you are holding the bowl while they set to mashing or the contents of your bowl will go flying!!
3) Cracking Eggs:
I wouldn't blame you one bit if you were skeptical about toddlers interacting with eggs...:) However, I have to tell you that we had the 3 year olds cracking eggs in class!! Now talk about your proud feelings these kids had when they cracked those babies!
I would also be lying if I told you that the adults in the room weren't a bit leery when I suggested that these babies get involved with cracking eggs! But, here are the steps I tell and show them to take for egg cracking.
- tap the egg on the side of a bowl (the bowl should have a thick/hard rim to it) until you see a line down the middle
- once you see the line in the middle of the egg, put your fingers on either side and open it like a book
- put the eggshells in one bowl and the inside of the eggs in another
- wipe your fingers with a baby wipe
- Note, I make a big deal about not putting fingers in mouths after touching the inside of an egg because it's "SUPER POISONOUS!"
So, in the end, at times there are some eggshells, but nothing that we can't fix! And the smiles and sense of accomplishment that the kids have after "doing it themselves" is worth it!!
Do you cook with your toddlers? Leave a comment and tell us what you and your toddler chefs get up to!