Did you know children sometimes need to be offered a new food as many as 10-15 times before she will eat it? Crazy right?! I found that if my daughter is included in the cooking process she is more apt to taste foods as ingredients and then taste the finished product vs if I were to make the dish solo and just present the finished product to her. I also found that with continuous exposure to labeling foods, labeling utensils, and labeling actions while in the kitchen, my daughter’s vocabulary has grown significantly when it comes to kitchen items.
Below I am sharing the simple ways I include my toddler in our kitchen activities, promote language in the kitchen, and hopefully, expand her palate.
Putting Groceries Away – Once the groceries are in the house, my daughter knows that we have to put them away before we do anything else. She now reaches into the bag, produces an item, and declares “me helping.” We label the items together and then discuss where the food “lives” in the kitchen. She is getting pretty good at putting the food in the right spot.
Washing Food – We wash our hands, we wash our food, and we wash the dishes and the whole time we are talking. I model the word wash and then discuss the concepts wet/dry and clean/dirty.
Pouring In – Cooking involves so many opportunities to follow simple directions. I give my daughter the directions to “scoop out” and then “put in” the bowl.
Mixing – We mainly mix dry ingredients right now, but we are working towards wet ingredients. I model the word mix while mixing ingredients with a spoon, with your hands, or with a blender.
Dish Prep – We have my daughter’s dishes on a lower shelf that she has easy access to. When it’s time to prep for dinner we talk about the types of dishes/utensils we need and she’s in charge of pulling out her plate, cup, and silverware out for mealtime.
Tasting – The best part about cooking is tasting everything along the way. We label and taste each ingredient and then talk about how the food tastes: sweet/salty/sour.
Each Tuesday for the next several weeks a fellow mom/friend/community member will be sharing a fun recipe, tips to include kids in the cooking process, or a great family restaurant for “Take a Taste Tuesday.” If you are interested in sharing your eating and/or cooking fun be sure to connect with me via email!