Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Kiddies in the Kitchen...It's a Family Affair!

Could NOT wait to write about this. This is one of my very favorite subjects. I know. I have a lot of favorites!

Here are some ideas to help you get your kiddies involved in the mealtime experience. It can be fun and educational. I honestly don't think that you can start with this one too early. If they can toddle with toys, they can certainly toddle with measuring cups and spoons!

*Have them hold things for you. If they are in the highchair snacking on Cheerios, they can have a few "safe" things that you will be using to bake or cook with...even if it is a pot holder ot tea towel.

*Teach young children to count when you are using measuring cups.

*They love stirring ingredients together. Sometimes I would give my kiddies a bowl of their own with a bit of flour in it to "stir".

*They can help get things set up. If you are baking, have them get out the rolling pin, sprinkles, cupcake liners...whatever.

*Purchase a small rolling pin. {Cost Plus World Market} Have them roll out their own piece of dough for cookies or bread or just give them some playdough. This will keep them occupied for quite some time. Add in a few cookie cutters and they will love you.

*Put some water in the sink with a bit of soap and let them do the "prep" dishes...even if they have to be washed again later-by you. :)

*For little ones, you can place a small basin of water on a towel on the kitchen floor and let them "wash" clean dishes. This teaches them that they are needed at a very young age. Be sure they are always supervised!!! Never unattended.

*Get down on their level. Peel potatoes, carrots etc. on the kitchen floor over a basin so they can watch and "help".

*Have them help set the table. Even if you are holding them, they can put a napkin by the plate. Not perfect. Just helping you so they get in the habit early. Their little contributions will pay off in the end. Trust me!

*Young children can fold napkins. Bright-colored ones are a huge incentive. They love them. IKEA always has a great variety to choose from! Party stores have discontinued patterns on clearance for pennies.

*Send them out to the yard to pick flowers to make an arrangement. Even if it ends up being leaves and dandelions. They will feel proud to have contributed to the beautiful tablescape! i think every Mom needs a little spice jar for flowers picked by their kidddies. There is something about a flower picked by your son. Moms, remember it is these little boys who will one day be picking or bringing flowers home to their wives!

*They can help clear the table. Toddlers love to help. Really they do. Unless they are covered from head to toe with spaghetti sauce and they need to be rushedd to the tub...have them take something from the table back to the kitchen. This is not about child labor, but letting them know they are vital to your family.

*When they are a little older have them find containers to store leftovers. Our kiddies LOVED this. This helps teach them important estimation skills. You may end up having a lot more dishes to wash if they have a hard time, but they will become really good at it, eventually. It was always a huge deal when they got things to fit on the first try!

I saved THE BEST for last. If you don't have a basket or container with dividers, {they are usually sold during the summer in the outdoor entertaining section at Target} DO NOT WALK. RUN as fast as your little feet can go and invest in one. They are most likely already marked down. They are perfect for keeping knives, fork,spoons and napkins in. HELLO! That is what they are intended for, but they are perfect for the kiddies to carry around the table as they are setting it. A simple solution to all the trips back and forth with the right amount of silverware and napkins. And since we are picnic fanatics, it is always ready for a picnic dinner on the deck. For a quick picnic at the park, you can replace your silverware with disposabe cutlery, paper plates and napkins.

Doing these things may add some extra time and work into getting a meal ready and cleaned up, but the process will be very rewarding for your family. It is living generationally. Knowing that the little things you are teaching your children day by day, week by week and year by year are worth it. Knowing that with God's help you are molding future husbands, wives, dads and moms should inspire you to take the time and make the effort.

I am constantly having to ask God for patience and for wisdom and having to apologize to my family, but I can assure you, God always keeps His promises. I know that when I am seeking Him in raising my children, He gives me the strength I need for that day.

What is your favorite way to have your kiddies help you in the kitchen?

Have a Happy, Happy Wednesday!

Shared with: at the picket fence


  1. I just love your posts! I'm currently expecting our first babykins and would love any books you would recommend reading about Godly parenthood, etc. Anyhing! :)

  2. Oh how I wish I would have had this encouragement and "permission" when my older children were younger. I used to be quite particular about messes, time it would take to get things done, etc.

    I find I am much more relaxed about that type of thing now and hope it is never "too late" to start practices and involvement such as these!

    GREAT tips and will start involving our little guy more in the process!

  3. I LOVE all of these ideas!!! Thank you for sharing them with us because I am most certainly going to use them. My son is only 23 months old and he absolutely loves feeling "involved" with things. He loves the praise over a job well done even more : )

    How sweet of you to bring a berry dessert to your friends party, too! I am so blessed as a hostess when guests take the time to bring something. I always think that is such a sweet thing to do.

    Thanks for coming over to say "hI" Lisa. I always loove hearing from you.

    : ) Laura