How Toddler Recipes All Started

Toddler Friendly Recipes

1/15/20243 min read

person holding clear glass jar with white powder
person holding clear glass jar with white powder

In our hearts, we hold tight the belief that little hands are capable of great things. In our minds however, we know that realistically this takes patience and prepping to ensure we try to set ourselves for success as best we can.

With my little one, his little hands ended up in the kitchen by any means, whether it was with some ingredients missing through his consumption or by asking to be involved in anyway he could. So off we began our journey.

Little hands are quick - don't you blink or look away because that split second meant a very different outcome! Thus, we began to learn what we could do to ensure we both focused on baking and fun instead of frustration.

1) Mise en place - A fancy word to simple say to have all your ingredients and tools prepared and ready to go. Now how prepared you will be depends on how much the little one has practiced a skill (read #3). Remember, keeping your eyes on the little one as much as possible will help avoid some mishaps and encourage successes!
2. Gradual release of responsibility - Start simple! Begin by perhaps having everything pre-measured to focus on a few skills at once: pouring, and mixing for example.
As the little one builds on their skills, gradually allow them for more complex tasks as you seem fit: have bowls out and have them now do the measuring out, along with the previous steps of pouring and mixing.
3. Set yourself up for success with recipes! - This one we tried to help you out! Skill levelled recipes is based on your own personal judgement. Thus, we have tried and wrote up many recipes where it there are not too many ingredients and mostly things you have at home. At the end of it all, at this stage building the little one's self-esteem, skills and confidence is what we try to encourage mostly.
4. Safety!! - Safety comes in various forms. Most people tend to focus on the tools being 150% little hands' safe which I completely agree. Furthermore, I have also taken into account safety from a very important angle as well: ingredients! Let's be honest. Little hands LOVE to explore their surrounding with various senses: Taste being one of them. Therefore, I though, well why not try to limit the risk of having potential pathogens or contamination with little hands are present. Thus, we thought of ways to make common desserts with ingredients that presented a lower risk of a food borne illness if ingested prior to baking! For that reason, with little ones we tried to think of ways to avoid common unpasteurized ingredients such as flour and eggs in our recipes as a precaution. Gradually, as the recipes increase in skill level, we introduce these ingredients as the skill of "not eating raw ingredients as a precaution" had developed.

Trust me when I say this: I know you may be hesitant to let little hands be in the baking process. But believe me, they are capable of doing wonderful things if provided with the opportunity and trust. Will it be perfect? No, but nor are adults. It'll be worth your wild! When that little face lights up because they finally got the hang of a skill that had been frustrating them, that memory will be ingrained in your heart forever. My little hands have dropped, spilled, licked, and created chaos in the kitchen. So, no. It has not been perfect! Yet, with every trial and trust, those skills developed and we focus on new skills now - numeracy through measuring, literacy through ingredients, procedural through instructions etc. He can even tell you from memory which ingredients, in what order, what is needed/where to find it in the kitchen etc. to make a recipe of whipped cream!!

Baking is fun! Baking is also an incredible opportunity to build skills such as:
- Hand-eye coordination
- Fine motor skills
- numeracy
- literacy
- problem solving
- sequencing and turn taking

If all that did not ignite interest then perhaps knowing that sometimes with little hands being involved in making the food could entice them to actually eating it!

Go ahead, take a deep breath and begin building those memories!! They may not remember every detail when they're older but I sure can assure you, they will remember being with you, giggling, and just spending time together.

xo, baci