Little Helpers

Posted by on March 28, 2011

Bug helps make Daddy's birthday breakfast.I think kids should help out in the kitchen as frequently as possible.

In order to convince you that this is true and good, I’m sharing a picture of Bug.


Yes, she’s covered in flour.

Yes, she has squished blueberries in her toes.

Yes, I had to watch her so closely that the recipe (Dutch Pancakes, in this instance) took about twice as long.

But look at that face. That is a face of pure contentment, and it’s a photo-op you can’t get in any studio.


My tips and observations regarding young toddlers and kitchens:

  • Your toddler will need his very own bowl and spoon. Bonus points if you have an extra “neat” utensil to share, like a whisk, or a small rolling pin.
  • Hold them up to the sink and let them wash the ingredients. Even if you have to re-wash after they leave the room.
  • For a very young child, a spoonful of flour is enough to “mix”. A sprinkle of cinnamon makes the mix smell nice.
  • My friend’s 2-year-old enjoys mixing a 1/4 cup of dry rice around the bowl while we mix our bread dough. After we have dough, of course, we give her a bit to knead.
  • Give an older toddler a little of each ingredient you are mixing. If the ratios are reasonably close, you can even bake/cook a mini version (as a pancake on the griddle, for example, or if you’ve given him a bit of bread dough to knead, bake a mini loaf).
  • If your toddler has the stirring thing down, get her involved with the “real” food. Let her mix the cake batter or pancake batter. Let him beat the eggs.
  • Take a picture. Take lots of pictures.
  • Never leave your child unattended, not even for a moment.


While you’re cooking together, be sure to sprinkle your conversation with such tidbits as “Oh boy, I can’t wait to do the dishes! That’s the best part!”

You never know. It might work.

8 Responses to Little Helpers

  1. Kelly

    I have a recipe for play dough and finger paints from my mom. I’ve made the play dough, but Logan never wanted to get his hands dirty as a little guy so we skipped finger paints. He likes making pizza now and fruit salads.

  2. Angie

    Who says making ice cream isn’t science? We’ll make it science!

  3. Tara

    I was thinking the same exact thing. I also have the recipe so they can make ice cream in a baggy. It’s not exactly science but they would have fun.

  4. Angie

    Tara – I think homemade play dough sounds like a great project! We need to come up with some fun summer science projects for the kids, too.

  5. Tara

    Angie you truly are super mom. I wish I could me more like you! I love this pic of Kate. Bella had a super good time mixing rice at your house. We’ll have to do that again sometime soon. Maybe we should get together soon and let all the kids make play dough. I even have a recipe for play dought they can eat but I think it has peanut butter in it so it wouldn’t be ok for the baby. I’ll see if I can come up with one without.

  6. Angie

    Angi – I love that cooking kills so many germs… *sigh* what parenthood does to your standards.

    Sarah – Our Spring Break Project was Boo In The Kitchen. He planned dinner for a week, then we made a list, shopped for the ingredients, and he cooked. He also ate an amazing quantity of food, which he said was because it actually tasted good for once. Little turd.

  7. Angi

    We did the mini meatloafs with my niece and nephew. You mix that with your hands so it’s even more fun. Plus it is easy to know who made which one (especially handy if *someone* has a runny nose and no one wants to eat her food!)

  8. Sarah

    Oh, I have to try the dishes part!
    Kyle enjoys cooking on his own– although he is really only to the place where he can make mac and cheese or stick something in the oven. That being said, he’s much father along than I was at his age.
    Ant is my ingredient grabber, measurer, and mixer. He also likes to suggest new ingredients or combinations. I think that is a gene passed on by my husband!

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