We are told that once our kids start to crawl it’s time to put everything where they cannot reach. Once children show interest in opening cupboards we go out and buy child locks so they cannot gain access. In other words we child proof our homes and more particularly our kitchens. We lock it up and throw away the key! Why? Yes safety is one very legitimate reason, but how about we redirect our thoughts from the word proof for a moment and focus on the word friendly? How about we make our kitchens child friendly and invite them in? In a very safety conscious manner, it is possible to give access to crawlers and wobblers right the way up encouraging children to explore the kitchen, a very fascinating environment, and give them not only a taste for food but for participating in the process of food preparation.
It’s easy to do and there’s no better time to start. Here are a few tips to get you going followed by an enjoyable recipe:
- Invite your child to help at a time when you are not under pressure for time.
- Follow your child’s lead – when he or she shows interest use the opportunity to involve them.
- Encourage motor skills strength building exercises in preschooler’s like stirring, pouring liquid and sieving.
- While continuing to encourage these motor skills in older children, also add more like peeling, mashing, grating and chopping.
- Allow as much independence as is safe and praise your child for their efforts.
- Try to RELAX! It will get messy and that’s OK.
- Don’t expect the final outcome to resemble the picture in your recipe book. Try to nurture your child’s
- Talk – your child will absorb the new terminology.
- Have fun. Cooking and baking is such a therapeutic and educational experience for all children. It is a beautiful way to bond with your child, giving you plenty of opportunity to build their confidence and independence.
- Enjoy yummy food together. Fussy eaters are more likely to eat when they are involved in the preparation process.
What you will need:
A variety of shaped cookie cutters
A container to simulate a flower pot (we used a teapot!!)
20 Wooden skewers
1 small head of lettuce
12-15 small dark grapes
(Whatever else in the fruit bowl your child would like to experiment with)
White and milk chocolates for melting
How to make a Fruit Bouquet:
- Wash lettuce and place into the teapot leaving the top spilling over the edges.
- Wash the strawberries and grapes and pat dry.
- Melt both chocolates.
- Dip 5 strawberries into the white chocolate and 5 into the milk chocolate.
- Leave the dipped strawberries on a plate, sprinkle as desired and leave to dry.
- Slice the pineapple approx. ½ inch in thickness.
- Make lots of fun shapes with the pineapple using your cookie cutters.
- Stick these shapes (one at a time) onto the skewers with approx. 3 grapes underneath each shape (see picture)
- Starting with the strawberries, arrange all fruit skewers into a bouquet by sticking through the lettuce.
- Eat & Enjoy!
By child proofing your kitchen hopefully you can now see how you could deprive your child of so many fruitful opportunities.