Letting Little Hands "Help" in the Kitchen

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#littlehelpinghands | #lookslikefun | #kitchenmoms

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As moms we spend a lot of time in our kitchens.  I feel like I am just on autopilot in there. I move around cooking and cleaning, and it can get a little frustrating when the littles are underfoot.  Not only that, what we are doing looks fun to them and they want to “help”. 

I find it difficult to slow down my pace in the kitchen to involve my kids.  I know it is a good thing to do, and that it will pay dividends years later because they will take responsibility in the kitchen that will actually help me out. 

But it just seems like so many times, there is so little I can let them do without adding 4 times the amount of time to every task.  And I usually didn’t build in time for this in advance of them asking in the middle of my prep to “help.”

Today I want to share with you a little “cheat” solution I came up with that keeps my daughter so happy. 

I give her her own bowl, and a variety of “throw away” ingredients and let her go crazy.



Here are some “tools” I put out for her:  
  • Mixing spoons, spatulas & a whisk
  • Measuring Cups & Spoons
  • Butter knife for “cutting”
  • Empty spice jars
  • Paper bowls for ingredients

Here are some “ingredients” I put out for her: 
  • Flour, Sugar 
  • An Egg
  • I give her a few cups with water and/or milk.  When she was small I put them in squeeze bottles or something that would not spill easily.
  • Older veggies and fruits from the frig that I’m ready to throw out, or cheap ones like carrots & celery (I cut those in pieces and put in a bowl).  I try and make sure she gets an item or two that she can cut herself with a butter knife.
  • I save empty spice jars for her, and fill them with sugar, wheat flour, etc.
  • I give her some cheap dry goods like oats or rice.
  • I check to see if I have any expired canned goods or recently expired dressings or dairy in the frig.
  • I give her some miscellaneous items like some mini-marshmallows, a graham cracker and pieces of bread.

Some of the ingredients I put out in paper bowls or plates.  I separate them and put a spoon with each so she can get a little at a time.

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She is so happy when I let her do this, and she will “cook” for an hour!

And I feel like it gives her more control than when she just “helps” me because all the food I am making has to be a particular way.  And this just lets her be creative!  And NO…we don’t taste this food when she is done!  She seems content to still “pretend” in that department!  There have been a few times when I gave her some cupcake pans to fill up with her scoops of her brew.

I’ve been doing this a few years, and she still begs me to do it!  She is 5 now, and she is starting to cook the real food!
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I have found this to be a good compromise in my house.  I want my kids to love being in the kitchen, but I can’t always sacrifice what little time I have to get things done…to include them all the time.  This has been a win for us and hope that your little creative will love this too!

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Jill Levenhagen
Jill is a busy mom who truly believes in balance, and loves to talk about her mom successes on her friend’s blogs.  At her site Blog Chicka Blog, she teaches bloggers about better photography and wants to convince the blog-world to use her favorite editing program, Lightroom! 
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