Next time you’re making dinner, get your little one to help out! Try some of these kitchen tasks for toddlers.
Toddlers can be great little kitchen helpers. Things may take longer and get a bit messier, but it’s a perfect way to spend some one-on-one time with them. Getting toddlers involved in the kitchen can help your little one:
- Learn what goes into making a healthy meal
- Get a sense of responsibility and pride by helping
- Practice coordination and fine motor skills
- Taste something new
- Practice counting and measuring
- Bond and have fun!
When my son was around 18 months old, he started joining me in the kitchen on his Kitchen Helper Stool (we don’t have this exact one but ours is similar). Now we use a kitchen chair because I’m too lazy to pull the stool out of the closet most of the time! He has gotten more helpful and involved now that he’s about a year older, but even at 18 months he liked watching what I was doing and could do some simple tasks, like helping stir things.
I snapped some pictures the past few weeks when Teddy helped me in the kitchen to give you some ideas of how to get your toddler involved! By the way…hungry or cranky toddlers are NOT good helpers. I’ve learned my lesson there. 🙂
1. Count and Move Things From One Place to Another
Practice counting with things like eggs, carrots, potatoes, etc. Then have your toddler put them into the bowl or pot or wherever they need to go next. We were getting ready to hard boil (actually, steam!) these eggs, so I was right there to make sure he did it verrryyyy gently to keep the eggs intact.
2. Measure and Pour
If it doesn’t have to be a perfect measurement (and you don’t mind some spillage) allow your toddler to scoop things with the measuring cup. You can do this with dry ingredients, like oats or rice, or liquid, like water or milk. I usually keep a hand on top of his to help steady him. Then the best part – they get to dump it into the bowl!
Toddlers love to stir! Even if it’s something that doesn’t necessarily need stirring, I’ll let him do it anyway for fun.
4. Fill a pot with water
I know this seems so simple, but they think it’s fun to play at the sink.
5. Use the Spiralizer
This does have some sharp blades so I very closely monitor, but your kids will think this thing is magic.
6. Make salad
They can get involved in every step of the process. Rinse the lettuce and other veggies. Spin the lettuce in the salad spinner. Tear the lettuce into small pieces and put it in a bowl. They can even help toss it with the dressing.
7. Make your coffee
Ha! We have a Nespresso and Teddy LOVES pressing the button. Pressing buttons in general is fun, so I’ll let him press buttons on the oven or dishwasher for me.
8. Experiment with Different Kitchen Tools
A cookie scoop and tongs are both great tools to practice some fine motor skills. Sometimes I’ll set Teddy up with tongs and some items to put in a bowl (even small toys), and he gets VERY focused.
9. Retrieve items
Ask your toddler to bring things to you that you know they can handle without spilling or breaking. We keep some kitchen supplies in low cabinets, like our colander and mixing bowls, so I will ask Teddy to bring those to me, or put them away if we’re cleaning up. He also loves to put things in the garbage can.
I don’t expect my toddler to do a great job with this, but he can help, and it keeps him entertained while I do something else in the kitchen. They can rinse out non-breakable dishes, help wipe surfaces down, and even help with sweeping or vacuuming. When he’s in the kitchen I make sure to only use my safest, most non-toxic cleaning supplies just in case he sprays himself by accident. You can always just fill a spray bottle with water and let them go nuts.
Don’t forget to let them taste! This has been one of the best ways to get my son to try new foods. If he’s helping or watching me prepare food, he gets curious and wants a taste!
What are your favorite kitchen tasks for toddlers?
Do you have memories of helping in the kitchen when you were little?