I cannot even express to you how much I love cooking and baking with Cecilia. It’s seriously one of my favorite things right now.
She has always wanted to be a “big girl” and help around the house whether the task was dusting, laundry, sweeping or putting something in the trash. Now that she’s totally aware of all that goes on in our kitchen, we honestly can’t do anything without her screaming that she wants to help.
The thing that has made helping in the kitchen a breeze is her learning tower. One was handed down to us from a friend and it has been the best thing ever. Before we got our learning tower, if Cecilia helped, we would just put her on one of our dining chairs up to the counter. It definitely made me uneasy since she could have slipped so easily, so I love how safe I feel with her in the tower (even though I still watch her like a hawk and am next to her the enitre time).
So far in the kitchen, Cecilia has helped me make about half a dozen pizzas, a few racks of BBQ ribs, a couple of batches of cornbread, brownies, peach crumble, this ice cream and these chocolate chip cookies. She also helps Travis get breakfast ready in the morning by taking the tops off of the strawberries that go in her yogurt and helping toss things in the trash. This girl is on her way to being an executive chef by the time she’s 10!
Since we’ve been at the mother-daughter cooking thing for a couple months, I wanted to pass along what I currently have her help with while in case you have a little one of similar age or are interested in getting your kids to be more helpful in the kitchen. Of course, tasks will vary by child, but these are thing things she loves to do and I feel comfortable having her do. I plan on sharing our joint cooking efforts every few months to update you on what she’s helping with and hopefully inspire your kiddos to get in the kitchen and help you! 🙂
Adding ingredients to the bowl – I’m trying to get Cecilia to count, so this is the perfect counting lesson! I always let her know how many cups of things we’ll need and we count along as we add them to the bowl. One of the first times we cooked together, I gave her a half cup of flour to add to the bowl ALL on her own and disaster struck and flour was EVERYWHERE. Now, I let her hold the cup while I still have a gentle hand on it to make sure it all ends up where it needs to be.
Stirring – Oh, this girl could stir forever. Nothing even has to be in the bowl, just give her a spoon and she’ll go to town. For this, I make sure that I use a much bigger bowl than I need because, inevitably, ingredients go flying and if I have a larger bowl, most of them stay in place.
“Busy” tasks – While I’m getting all of our ingredients ready or completing a task that would be too difficult or messy for her to help with, I give Cecilia a “busy” task for her to concentrate on. For example, the other day, she saw me pull out the muffin pan and she immediately wanted to cook with me. I hadn’t yet gathered all of my ingredients, so I put her in her tower, got out the muffin cups and let her place them in the tin. It turned out she LOVED putting the cups in the tin, taking them out and then putting them back in, so I let her do that for a bit while I got all of my ingredients together and did the first few steps of our recipe. She also loves exploring different utensils like pastry brushes and dough scoops, so when we’re baking and we get to the point when she want to eat all of our batter, I give her a new tool to explore and am able to put cookies or muffins in the oven without her eating the raw dough.
First taste tester – If Cecilia helps cook or bake, I let her get first dibs on tasting the final product. This is her favorite part and she immediately lets me know if she likes something because she says “yuuuuuuuummmmmmm” and two seconds later asks for more.
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