Cooking is a skill that will serve your child well for the rest of their life, so getting them interested while they're young is a smart move. Try these fun crafts and your toddler will be well on their way to becoming a five-star chef.
Paint wooden food together
Getting hold of some unpainted wooden fruit is a great way to create fun cooking props together with your child. Print off pictures, look at real food or use a reference book to figure out the right colours together, then use brightly-coloured paints to decorate your wooden food. Wooden fruits and vegetables are good options as they allow you to teach your child about healthy eating. Once painted, seal the toys with varnish to ensure they don't get damaged during play. Use them to teach your little one about where food comes from, how we buy it, and how we cook with it. You could start with a fruit picking role play, then transition to a grocery store, then play at being professional chefs in the kitchen.
There are wholesale wooden toys of all kinds that you could purchase and use to teach your child about food and cooking.
Create funny recipes together
Introducing your child to the concept of recipes is a good move — but it doesn't have to involve real food. To save wasting your real ingredients, write up fun recipes for things like love potions, witches brews and mud pies. Your child will be learning to listen to and follow instructions, weigh out amounts, mix things together and they'll have loads of fun.
Here's an example recipe for a night sky jar:
- 1 cup water
- 2 drops blue food coloring
- 1 drop red food coloring
- 1 teaspoon glitter
- 5 plastic stars
Just add all the ingredients to a plastic jar and shake to mix. Once your child has got the idea of what recipes are all about, start to involve them in cooking simple meals like pizza and soup.
Make pictures out of real fruit
While your child probably isn't ready to handle sharp knives or hot pans, that doesn't mean they can't get involved with some real cooking. Chop fruit into pieces and let your child arrange it to create different pictures on their plate. You could try a funny face with blueberry eyes and an apple mouth, a tiger with orange slices arranged in the shape of a mane, or a pretty rainbow. Establishing cooking and food preparation as fun, creative and positive should spark an interest that will stay with your child for the rest of their life.