My one-year-old is with me all the time in the kitchen. She is either begging to be picked up to see what I am doing or begging for tastes of what I’m cooking. She is so interested in food and cooking that I have decided to include her in the process.
Not only is exposing your child to cooking a great way to expand her palate, but the process provides a great way for her to build her language skills. Below I have listed 5 simple ways you can include your child in the cooking process to promote her language development.
Wash: Wash hands, wash food, or wash the dishes. Be sure to use the word wash while you are washing. You can also discuss the concepts wet/dry and clean/dirty.
Label: Label items in the kitchen. Label food, herbs, silverware, and dishes. The opportunities for labeling are endless.
Put ___ In: Cooking involves so many opportunities to follow simple directions. A child as young as a year old can begin following the direction to “put in.”
Mix: Use the word mix while mixing ingredients with a spoon, with your hands or with a blender. We have a ninja blender which made mixing very accessible for my 13-month-old.
Taste and Smell: If your child is anything like mine, taste and smell are a packaged deal right now! Give opportunities to smell and taste ingredients when appropriate. Label the items and talk about how each item tastes and smells.
I have found when cooking with children it is best to pick recipes with simple directions and few ingredients. I am not a cook, so searching for recipes is something I do quite often. I turn to these websites for inspiration when cooking with and for my daughter: