For me, fall is the season to attempt all sorts of pumpkin-y cinnamon spicey, muffins and cookies. For real though, we don’t have AC and it is just way too hot to turn on the oven for like 4 months out of the year. Also, I say ‘attempt’ because I am not a great baker. I’d say I’ve got about a 65% success rate lol! However, that doesn’t stop me from loving baking with my little! Our projects don’t always turn out delicious, or even very edible haha, but I love that she is learning so many things while we do our kitchen ‘experiments!’ So if you’re interested in getting your kids in the kitchen, read on for our favorite tips, age appropriate activities, recipes and tools to get you started!
Kids In The Kitchen – By Age:
6-12 Months: When E was very little I would get her set up with some empty tupperware or pans and a wooden spoon and then just bake next to her. Textures and mixing can also be fun for the ‘tummy’ time age, so filling a ziplock bag with two ingredients (one liquid) and letting them squish it is a great busy activity!
12-24 Months: This age wants their hands in everything, literally. Giving them some ‘play beside me’ tools and materials can be great for them to practice the skills for future baking! Some flour in a bowl to practice scooping etc. They are still most likely in the taste everything stage so keep anything you don’t want them tasting far out of reach. It can be fun to let them explore with their senses though! Little tastes of flour, smelling the spices, helping to stir. Now that they are standing, introducing a learning tower can make kitchen endeavors much easier by giving them a controlled area to be in!
2-4 Years: This age is the best because they are capable of so much! Also, the messiest… They can crack the eggs, pour mix and measure. They will love having their own baking tools that are just their size. Also, may I repeat, the messiest lol… Setting them up in a contained space by using a tray under their mixing bowl etc. makes clean up easier! An adorable apron comes in handy and really makes them feel like they are doing something ‘grown up.’ Ours came courtesy of our Nana, but there are some great kits that come complete with apron as well. Read on for our top picks for other kids kitchen tools!
Kids In The Kitchen – Tools:
Getting kids in the kitchen doesn’t require a lot of special tools! They are happy with your wooden spoons and whisks. There are some great sets though if you have a little one who is super excited to bake, or, with the holidays coming up, if you are just looking for a non-toy gift that your little one will get tons of use out of! I have a whole other post in the works on great gift ideas that kids will actually get a ton of use out of, while learning practical skills.
- This baking set by Handstand Kitchen is a great starter set. The tiny silicone rolling pin is just the right size for their adorable tiny chubby hands.
- Crinkle Cutter this is by far my kids favorite kitchen tool! It does have a metal end on it, but it’s not as sharp as a knife. We started using at 3 and after introducing it she’s only had once or twice hitting a finger (and it’s never broke the skin.) Great for fruit and sweet potatoes.
- This Apple Peeler/Corer/Slicer thing is magical for kids! Also, it makes some really great thinly sliced apples perfect for pie. My daughter loves cranking the handle and watching the peel spiral off, seriously, get a huge bag of apples because your little won’t want to stop! There are some sharp pieces that an adult needs to supervise, but I am all for teaching young ones to learn the caution and responsibility it takes to use real tools. You might be surprised at a little ones ability to exercise caution, and their pride when they master an adult tool! This one is perfect for making some simple and delicious apple crisps. We like this simple recipe, and it comes with a printable visual recipe the kids can use to gather ingredients, practice following steps etc.!
- Juicers are really satisfying for kids, we have a few different types and use all of them (they each use different muscles, great for little hands.) I also sometimes put them on her activity tray with some sour oranges from our tree, or freezer burned berries from the freezer. Then we paint with the juice!
- Measuring Spoons and Cups They can by all means use what you have, but there is something special to a kid in having their very own set. I like these bright stainless steel ones, but my daughter still uses my plastic set from when I was a kid! Tiny ones get great practice stacking them and seeing how they nest together too:)
Easy Recipes For Kids In The Kitchen:
I’m not a great baker, and actually have a really hard time following a recipe on my best day, add in a toddler or chatty preschooler and odds are I will forget something. For that reason I’ve found a few key recipes that are quick (kid attention spans are short!) don’t require a ton of ingredients (because I can barely remember to buy the milk that’s on my grocery list,) and are something I’m pretty sure my kid will eat. Most of these are low in sugar and easily modified too, in case you too have a super picky eater that doesn’t like lines on their grilled cheese lol.
- Energy Bites : This is such a versatile recipe, and perfect for snacks on the go or even quick breakfasts.
- Greek Yogurt Muffins : I’ve made this recipe with many variations (some more successful than others;) I like that they are not too sweet and use ground oats to replace a bit of the flour so they have more fiber and staying power.
- Bread In a Bag: This is a fun one if you are looking for a cozy rainy afternoon activity! While we don’t do this often because it does take awhile, I like activities that show kids how food is made!
- Sweet Potato Rounds: This is a go to