Monday, April 16, 2012

Candice: Small Chefs

Ever since our son started preschool we have been trying to let him do more on his own. Since he is so very interested in cooking we modify things to let him help out at dinnertime. There are a few things (mostly prep) I've found successful and would like to share in case they help anyone else with their small people.

1) Knives! Okay, not really. But we do have a wavy pressure blade we got from a Montessori catalog. It cuts with pressure against the cutting board, with both hands on the handle. He's used it on bananas, sausage, carrots, onions, and other fruits and veggies. I always make sure to work nearby in case there are issues, of course.

2) Stirring and mixing! This is an easy one, but we do try to make sure he doesn't touch raw meat or eggs. It's helpful to use a much larger bowl than you think you'll need.

3) Herbs and spices! Little Miss really likes this one. It's super-easy for them to dump a pre-measured pinch bowl full of something into the recipe.

4) Pushing buttons! We let him press the buttons on most everything, with supervision. Hovering, neurotic supervision. I keep one hand on the device even if it has an auto shut off.

5) Moving prepped food to it's serving vessel! Even if he can't help cook a dish, he's usually eager to help get it on the table.

6) Setting the table! Other than our wedding china and the steak knives he's good. He also lets his sister hand out the napkins, which is way too cute.

7) Serving himself! Before we had kids my husband always plated each meal but now we put everything in a serving dish and let the kids choose their own portions. Well, the toddler makes a valiant effort.

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