Cooking with Toddlers
In Owls Room & Rabbits Room (1-2 years), the children enjoyed getting creative by making some Christmas cookies. Gemma made sure she had all of the correct ingredients for the cookies and set them up nicely on a tray; so the children could access them. When all of the equipment and ingredients were collected, the children one by one sat at the table to engage in the activity. The reason we made this activity one to one is so we could support the children on a more personal level and provide them with more support. First over to the table was Saphari. Saphari showed a high amount of confidence when starting this activity, she used the spoon to mix the ingredients together and put her hand in the mixture whilst squeezing it between her fingers. She then picked up some dough and flattened it using her hand , on the table. A member of staff showed Saphari how to use the shape cutters in the dough , she picked this up very quickly and begun to copy them. Next to approach the table was Robin. As Robin is one of the younger children in the room, she needed some extra support. She stood next to a staff member with a massive grin on her face and picked up some dough. She put the dough to her mouth and stuck out her tongue, she then used the cutter with support from a staff member to cut out her biscuit shape. After all of the children helped make the mixture and cut out the shapes, the biscuits went into the oven to cook. Once the biscuits were cooked and cooled down, the children got to decorate them which they all found very exciting. Gemma put together bowls full of various ingredients (strawberry laces, marshmallows, chocolate buttons, icing, sprinkles & raisins). Vinnie came over to the table and picked the spoon full of icing, he hovered the spoon over the biscuit and watched the icing dribble on. After the icing covered the biscuit, he then picked up some raisins and one by one put them onto his biscuit. He picked up a strawberry lace and put it in his mouth, a member of staff said “Uh Oh” and Vinnie laughed whilst spitting it out. Oliver also enjoyed decorating his biscuit, he grabbed a hand full of sprinkles and threw it over the top of the biscuit, and he then used a tissue to wipe the remaining sprinkles off of his hand.
How does this support the children’s development?
Cooking is fun and enjoyable for children, they get great joy creating a dish and eating it. When cooking, children use all of their senses. Cooking is a great opportunity to introduce some early maths concepts in a fun environment. There’s a lot of mathematical language and equipment used during cooking (adding, reducing, weighing, scales and measuring). Cooking with your child can also help with their communication, you can ask them to repeat words such as flour, mix, stir and you can encourage them to speak about how the ingredients smell, what they feel like etc. Preparing and cooking requires patience and care, teaching them basic life skills.
Simple cooking activities to try at home
Rice Krispy Cakes- For this activity, you only need 2 ingredients! Chocolate you can melt and rice krispies. Allow your child to pour the krispies into the bowl and pour the chocolate on top, when the chocolate is covering the krisipies, your child can mix it in until its fully covered.
Cutting fruit- Help your child improve their gross motor skills by cutting some fruit, gather various fruits of different colours and textures and provide a safe knife. With support, let your child cut the fruit into whatever shape they like. You can extend this activity by speaking to your child about the smells , textures and colours of the fruit.
Decorating biscuits- Its as simple as gathering some digestive biscuits and some sweets. Use icing on top of the biscuit and let your child stick down whatever food they like, this could be sweets, fruit or edible decorations. This activity lets your child use their imagination and get creative.