Looking for a way to get your curious toddler involved with meal preparation? Here are 30 recipes to cook with your toddler that you both will love!
Getting kids involved in the kitchen and teaching them to cook from a young age has many benefits. It stimulates creativity, teaching them a valuable life skill that they will take into adulthood as well as develops fine motor skills.
The Joy of Cooking with Toddlers: Unmeasured Happiness and Edible Life Lessons
Cooking can be a deeply rewarding experience on its own, but when you add toddlers into the mix, it takes on a new dimension of fun and education. If you’ve ever spent time in the kitchen with a toddler, you know that it’s a blend of controlled chaos and pure, unfiltered joy. The wonder in their eyes, the excitement in their voice, and the enthusiasm with which they approach every task, however small, makes cooking not just a chore but an adventure.
Fostering Curiosity and Creativity
Toddlers are naturally curious beings. They want to touch, taste, and understand everything around them. The kitchen is like a mini science lab where they can experiment with textures, colors, and tastes. Whether it’s mixing flour and water to see how they combine, or using cookie cutters to create different shapes, cooking provides a tactile and sensory experience that fosters curiosity and creativity.
Skill Development and Coordination
Fine motor skills are put to the test when children engage in activities like stirring a bowl of batter or using a spoon to fill muffin tins. Even if a fair amount of the mixture ends up outside of the intended target, the act of aiming, pouring, or scooping is excellent for their hand-eye coordination. Similarly, tasks like sorting ingredients, measuring, and sequencing steps of a recipe encourage cognitive development and logical thinking.
Building Self-Esteem and Independence
There’s a sense of pride and accomplishment that comes from creating something with your own hands, and this is magnified in the eyes of a toddler. Whether they’ve just helped spread jam on a piece of bread or assisted in making a more complicated dish, that sense of achievement can be a significant boost to their budding self-esteem. This empowerment also promotes independence, an invaluable trait that will benefit them in every area of life.
Bonding and Emotional Connections
Cooking is a communal activity by nature, and doing it with a toddler turns it into a bonding exercise. The simple act of spending time together in the kitchen can create cherished memories and rituals that both of you will hold dear for years to come. It also provides an opportunity for emotional development, as children learn to share, take turns, and even cope with disappointment if a recipe doesn’t turn out as expected.
Introducing Healthy Eating Habits
When children are involved in the cooking process, they’re more likely to eat what they’ve helped prepare. This is a great way to introduce them to fruits, vegetables, and other healthy food choices. Their hands-on experience can diminish the ‘yuck’ factor often associated with unfamiliar foods, encouraging a more diverse and balanced diet.
Unscripted Fun and Laughter
Let’s not forget one of the best parts of cooking with toddlers: it’s downright fun. The unpredictability of cooking with little ones can lead to spontaneous laughter and joy. Maybe the flour puffs into a mini cloud, or perhaps the sound of eggs cracking sends them into a fit of giggles. These unscripted moments make the whole experience unpredictable, but also incredibly enjoyable.
Cooking with toddlers may require a bit more time and a lot more patience, but the returns are invaluable. Through the spills, the flour clouds, and even the occasional culinary mishaps, you’re not just making food. You’re making memories, building foundational skills, and instilling a love for one of life’s most essential and enjoyable skills. So, roll up those sleeves, put on those tiny aprons, and get ready to cook with your toddler!
But sometimes it can be tricky to include a little one if the recipe is complicated or requires most of your attention. With these 30 recipes to cook with your toddler below, you can include your little one in the cooking process, teaching them and having fun at the same time!
30 Healthy Recipes To Cook With Your Toddler
Here are some healthy recipes that you will have fun preparing with your toddler!
These vegan zucchini muffins are soft, sweet, and full of healthy ingredients. With no oil and no refined sugar in the batter, you can feel good about serving them for breakfast, a snack, or even dessert.
Believe it or not, pancakes just got better! Mini Gluten-Free Cinnamon Pancake Bites that are vegan, allergy-free, and take just 10 minutes to bake! They’re a surprisingly healthy breakfast recipe that kids (of all ages) will love! Perfect for little hands to dunk in syrup and munch!
An easy and healthy meatless nugget that the kids will love! Gluten-free & Vegan Chickpea Nuggets that are top 8 allergy-free, grain-free, and have a secret dose of veggies too! A deliciously fun plant-based recipe for little hands at lunchtime or dinner!
This Hawaiian Chicken Salad with Pineapple makes a great healthy snack for toddlers and kids, and is a perfect after school snack! Make this super easy chicken salad on a busy weekday - there are no raw ingredients so it's perfect for toddlers to help you put this together.
Mini quesadillas are perfect for tiny toddler hands! These mini Broccoli Quesadillas are nutritious, easy to make in under 10 minutes, and a great healthy toddler recipe to make together - kids love putting these together.
Nothing says childhood more than Goldfish crackers! Now you can make your own Homemade Gluten-Free & Vegan Goldfish that are top 8 allergy-free, grain-free, sugar-free, and secretly protein-packed! A healthy snack recipe mom’s and kids will love!
This easy healthy banana cream pie in jars is made with whole foods. Kids will enjoy helping parents put these together as they can easily assist in layering the jars! Vegan, paleo, gluten-free and refined sugar-free.
Learn how to air fry chickpeas without oil, with different flavor combinations. It’s a #1 favorite healthy air fryer snack that is so easy you will be wondering why it took you so long before you cooked air fryer chickpeas.
A family favorite, these wholesome kid-friendly air fryer pizza rolls are sure to be a hit in your household! Great as a snack or a meal, they’re so easy to make that your little ones can help make them as well.
These Nutella French Toast Roll-Ups are a fun, finger-friendly treat for breakfast or brunch. These portable, and easy to make French Toast Roll-Ups are filled with delicious Nutella, dunked into custard, sauteed until golden brown and then rolled in cinnamon sugar goodness!
S’mores Flatbread slathered with cinnamon-sugar flavored butter and topped with crumbled graham crackers, ooey-gooey chocolate and marshmallows. This s’mores recipe doesn’t require a campfire so you can make them all year round!
Whether you’re looking for a snack or a main meal to cook with your toddler, there’s bound to be something for everyone and their preferences on this list of delicious recipes.
Developing skills and nurturing creativity as well as an awareness of a variety of foods are just some of the many benefits of these recipes to cook with your toddler. Start today – there’s no better time!
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Hi! I’m Nellie. I am a busy mama of three, wife to my high school sweetheart who loves to cook, workout and stay organized! I love to share helpful printables, the best recipes and fitness tips for the modern mom. I strongly believe that every mom can feed their family well, take proper care of themselves and have fun along the way! Read my story.