I have always involved my kids in the kitchen. Basically from the time they can sit on their own, they are up on my counter. And yes, I know there is a risk of injury when they sit on the counter but with their temperaments thus far, the benefit outweighs the risk.
My girls have been poking in muffin mixings, dumping flour, stirring oats and squeezing honey since they could hold a spoon.
I know that involving kids in cooking helps them feel more comfortable around food. BUT, I’ve never scaffolded a cooking or baking task that they could see through beginning to end. They have always participated in the middle, messy part of the process. Great for tasting while making, but it hasn’t always helped with their interest in the final product come mealtime. I’ve realized that at 2 and 3 years old, they have the ability to be little chefs with more responsibility. AND, that it makes a difference in their consumption and enjoyment of the final product!!!
My oldest has always scoffed at salads. She is a reasonably good veggie eater in general but NEVER has she enjoyed a good salad. Recently, she pushed her stool over to where I was working and asked to help prepare supper. Off the cuff, I told her to grab spinach from the fridge and dump some in the bowl I had already set out. To my surprise, she came back with the box of spinach ready to go. I set out all of the other ingredients for her to dump in the bowl, let her stir with her hands and helped her make some dressing. She was so proud of herself… AND SHE ATE 2 BOWLS OF SALAD FOR DINNER. Her salad had spinach, crasins, almonds, sunflower seeds and feta cheese with white balsamic raspberry dressing.
A new spin on an old strategy is born! I’ll be drawing picture recipes for my girls to follow and setting out pre-measured ingredients for them to mix up. Salads here we come! I’ll post some pictures of a picture recipe next time.