Cooking can help little ones learn and practice some basic math concepts and build language skills. Aside from learning how to prepare meals, learning how to cook will have them picking up on other essential skills as well such as science, literacy, math and fine motor skills. And the experience of creating meals by themselves can help build their self-confidence and lay the foundation for healthy eating habits. Cooking is a life skill that they will take with them down the road, a valuable skill that teaches them about kitchen safety and nutrition. We’ve got some simple and easy recipes your little ones can whip up all by themselves.
But first, here are some safety tips:
- Ensure that your little one’s hair is always pulled back or put in a ponytail
- Have them wash their hands in warm water and soap before they engage in any preparation – This will teach them the habit of staying hygienic when food is involved
- Keep sharp utensils out of reach
- Be vary of hot pots and pans, have your little one keep their distance from any hot surfaces or fire
- Keep an eye on them, make sure they’re not dipping their fingers into dishes – Hot dishes can have them hurting themselves
- Raw ingredients such as raw chicken or fish should be kept out of their reach, some little ones may be tempted to sneak a piece of raw food in their mouths – Teach them that eating certain raw ingredients can make them sick
- Keep countertops clean and tidy
- Teach them to wait for the dish to cool down before tasting – Nobody likes getting their tongues or the roofs of their mouths burned
The first thing I remember making when I was just a wee kid were popsicles, they were incredibly easy to make and worth the long wait of them turning into solid ice. Here’s a recipe that unveils a twist on the usual popsicle
- 2 cups of plain greek or vanilla yoghurt
- 1/4 cup of honey or maple syrup
- 3 tbsp of milk
- 1/4 tsp of vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup of rainbow sprinkles
- In a medium bowl, mix together the yoghurt, honey, milk and vanilla extract until completely smooth.
- Add in 1/4 cup of sprinkles and mix until combined.
- Spoon the mixture into your yoghurt moulds.
- Add the extra sprinkles on top of the yoghurt. Slid in a popsicle stick.
- Freeze for at least 4 hours or until frozen.
Peanut Butter Cups
If your little one loves Reese’s pieces cups then they will absolutely love this recipe. Your little one’s very own DIY Reeses pieces cups!
- 3 tablespoons of powdered sugar, sifted
- ½ cup of creamy peanut butter
- 1 cup of milk chocolate, melted
- Prepare a cupcake tin with 6 liners.
- Stir peanut butter and powdered sugar together until smooth.
- Spread 1 to 2 tablespoons of chocolate in the bottom of each cupcake liner.
- Dollop 1 to 2 teaspoons of the peanut butter mixture on top of the chocolate.
- Cover each dollop of peanut butter with more chocolate and smooth out the top.
- Refrigerate for 1 hour or until chocolate has hardened.
- Remove peanut butter cups from the liners.
No-Bake Pie Jar
Your little one may not be ready to bake pies so, no-bake pies are the next best thing.
- 1 cup of powdered sugar
- 8 oz of cream cheese
- 1 cup of creamy peanut butter
- 16 oz of whipped cream
- graham cracker, as needed
- Chocolate sauce, hard-shell type
- 1 cup crushed peanuts
- Rainbow sprinkles
- Mini chocolate chip
- Jam Jars or Mason jars
- In a large mixing bowl beat together powdered sugar, cream cheese, and peanut butter.
- Crush half a graham cracker into the bottom of a jar.
- Drizzle a layer of hard-shell chocolate sauce over the graham cracker (this will firm up and act as a barrier to ensure the graham crackers stay crunchy).
- Spoon in the peanut butter pie mixture, filling the jar thirds of the way.
- Top off with whipped cream and additional toppings to your liking.
- Chill the jars in the fridge for at least 1 hour before serving.
- You’ve got yourself a jar of goodness.
Pita Pocket Sandwiches
These handy pita pocket sandwiches can be filled and served ready to eat, or you can set up a make-your-own buffet with ingredients that the kids can choose to suit themselves.
- 1/2 a cup of mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard
- 8 pita pocket halves
- 8 lettuce leaves
- 16 thin slices of bologna
- 8 thin slices of fully cooked ham
- 16 thin slices of tomato
- Combine the mayonnaise and mustard.
- Spread about 1 tablespoon into each pita half.
- Stuff each with one lettuce leaf, two slices of bologna, one slice of ham and two slices of tomato.
Peanut Butter, Banana & Chocolate Chip Sandwich
Take it up and notch, swap the ‘j’ in a pb&j sandwich with some bananas and chocolate chips. Just like a pb&j sandwich, your little one will love the combination of sweet and salty flavours.
- 1/4 cup of creamy peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons of honey
- 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons of miniature semisweet chocolate chips
- 4 slices of whole-wheat bread
- 1 medium banana, thinly sliced
- Mix peanut butter, honey and cinnamon.
- Stir in chocolate chips.
- Spread over bread.
- Layer two bread slices with banana slices.
- Top with remaining bread.
Mac & Cheese
A bowl filled with gooey cheesiness!
- 1 cup of cooked pasta
- 2 cups of Mild shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 cup of whole milk
- 3/4 tsp of kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp of freshly ground black pepper
- Place pasta, cheese, milk, salt and pepper into a microwave-safe bowl. Stir to mix.
- Cover lightly with plastic wrap and microwave for 3 minutes.
- Stir and microwave for an additional 2 minutes.
- Stir until creamy and smooth, then serve immediately.
Note: If your little one is too young to handle the stove, prepare the boiled pasta for them beforehand so all they have to do is combine the ingredients and stick it in the microwave.