Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Cooking with a Toddler

The first time I let Baby Bear help make dinner was back in November as a part of the 30 Days to Hands-on Play Challenge. Since then, he has helped make dinner a handful of times here and there... until recently. Nearly every night for the past month, my Baby Bear has decided that he is mommy's little helper when it comes to making dinner. "Cook, Mama! Help!" he pleads. Maybe it's because he really wants to spend that time with both Papa Bear and me every evening. Maybe it's because he likes helping me. Maybe he has a genuine interest in cooking. I don't know why for sure, but around here making dinner has become a family affair, and it's kind of fun.

On nights when we all help make dinner, Baby Bear and Papa Bear work together to prepare part of the meal. If a sauce needs spreading or the contents of a bowl need stirring, those are my go-to guys. Baby Bear loves to help stir! Some of the meals I make don't have any toddler-friendly tasks for them to help with, though. In those cases, I pacify Baby Bear with letting him make his own "food." For example, I'll hand him and Papa Bear a bowl, a measuring cup of water, and a handful of some of the ingredients I'm using. I think he knows it's only pretend cooking in at least some of those cases, but he's still happy to be in the kitchen working with Papa Bear and I. Sometimes it gets messy, and it often takes longer to prepare, but I think it is definitely worth these minor inconveniences to build these little memories together.

Spreading garlic butter over breadsticks

Shucking corn

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