Need Help In the Kitchen? Ask Your Toddler! (5 Life Tested Tips)

Mom and daughter washing vegetables

Image by FamVeld

As a busy mother, I totally understand how challenging it could be to make meals and watch your kids simultaneously. And the smaller the baby, the harder it is. Particularly if it’s your first kid!

I do my best to make meals as fast as the flash and serve it right away. My family doesn’t like waiting too long 🙂 Recently I’ve got a brand new baby food maker so now I can save extra minutes for reading or writing while snacks are getting ready.

Besides cooking, mother always has a lot of duties and chores, therefore, it’s a great way out to get your toddler involved in daily routine too. This way the work is done and your baby is entertained. Sounds great, doesn’t it?

So last evening, while we were making dinner in the kitchen, my daughter and I succeeded in combining business with pleasure, we made a cake while fooling around and played new games that I’d prepared.

I hope these tips will help you turn your common routines into fun and efficient activities. My daughter Lily is 13 months old and she is so excited being her mommies sous-chef! I’m sure since you read this article, both of you will enjoy spending time together in the kitchen.

So here’s is a list of remarkable playful ideas on how to keep your toddler busy in the kitchen.

1. Feed your friends

When it’s time to eat, I tell her to treat her mommy, her daddy, her favorite teddy bear, and everybody in the house. You can do it while feeding your baby with real food or during the game with a spoon and imaginary snacks.

It should do the trick very well when your toddler refuses to eat or eats not much. Give him a spoon and you’ll see that the appetite is improving right away! It works 9 in 10 with Lily 🙂 It’s ok even to give a shot to smaller babies to eat on their own (10 months and more). This develops motor skills and makes the baby more independent.

2. Shift the food

The kitchen area has lots of different products to get creative with – three grain cereal, salt, flour, sugar, fruit and vegetables and so much more! Everything that is at hand and needed for cooking. So take any product for shifting, give your kid several pots, spoons, and spatulas, and show him how to shift the food from one container to another and let the baby have some fun.

When everything is ready for cooking (fruit and vegetables are peeled and washed), I put it on the table, and sit Lily on the pillows next to me or she just stands up. Then I begin cutting the food in pieces and Lily starts playing with what I cut or give to her. Some of the pieces don’t survive to my pot as Lily grabs it and tastes 🙂

3. Listen, sing and dance

While making dinner, why not add a little buzz? Just turn on your favorite songs in the background, sing them, read and learn rhymes, dance with your toddler when you have small breaks. So in short, have fun!

In addition, such activities greatly improve your baby’s creativity and memory. If it goes well, you should consider artistic classes attending in the future.

little girl with pretend food

Image by Mcimage

4. Find the right lid

You can give your kid various plastic/carton boxes and pots. The idea is to let the baby open and close them on his own, and pick the appropriate size lid to each of the cookware. To add extra fun, you can put something inside. So the kid opens the lid and there are apples or carrots. He will shift it to another container or taste it with pleasure.

Let me share a game with you that helps remember the names of vegetables, develops speaking and reading. Put a vegetable in each pot as well as a card with the name of it. When your toddler opens the lid, he will see a vegetable and a card. Read him what is written on the card and point to the vegetable. Let your kid play with cards and vegetables while you’re busy. 

For instance, your toddler can shift the stuff from one pot to another and try to find all foods answering questions like ‘Where is a carrot’? Older kids can read the cards themselves and then spread them in the right pots with the appropriate vegetables. In addition, you can even sign the cards together with your baby. And you can also put some nice pics instead of the written questions.

5. Clean it up!

When the dinner is ready, the kitchen needs cleaning.

Give your toddler a washcloth and let him do his job on the table. Of course, show him how and what to do first. Sure, he may do a little mess – spread the leftovers around the table, but the main thing is that he will enjoy it. You can also add some kids-friendly soap on the sponge so your baby will be focused on compressing it and watch the foam is being squeezed out of it.

My daughter is a great fan of wiping everything off with a colorful washcloth after her mommy!

In addition, you can give your kid a small mop and he will be puzzled for a while sweeping the floor. Sometimes when I wash up, I put Lily next to me and show what I’m doing. She takes a cloth and tries to wipe something, or just plays with water.

Final Thoughts

All these games are excellent for kids’ development. And these are just a drop in the ocean. You can add some activities with numbers to count everything, read the labels, name the shapes of the objects, smell them, weigh, touch cold and hot, and so on and so forth.

Household chores take lots of time but it can be turned into an exciting and educational game for your sweet toddler.

Of course, much depends on your mood, desires, and time… But remember that everything is in your hands. Yes, you’ll have to clean up after your baby spending more time and effort, because something will surely not go as you’d like. But it’s definitely worth having a good and joyful time with your lovely baby!


  • heather

    This post is the cutest I love it. I think teaching kids how to cook and making cooking fun is so important. This post has a lot of great tips.

  • Robyn L

    I started having my grandson in the kitchen since he could wheel himself into the kitchen. Now he is right there with me as I explain everything that I am doing and he loves it and I love him being there with me 🙂 Wonderful article!!

  • Kate Sarsfield

    These are such important skills to pass on to the next generation. I remember taking a group of 15 – 18 year-olds on a weekend hiking trip, staying in self-catering lodges. More than half had never done the washing up as they always got takeaways … they weren’t used to sitting down to eat, never mind sitting at a table, interacting …

  • Dana Rodriguez

    Fantastic post. I think it is important to let your little ones help in the kitchen. I learned how to cook at a very young age and it is a life skill I really appreciate.

  • Tamra Phelps

    When my niece and youngest nephew were toddlers they wanted to help with mixing things, etc. My oldest nephew just wanted to bang on the pots like drums, lol. Hey, whatever kept them occupied was fine by me.

  • Diane K. Brimmer

    We used to let our kids get a stool and they even got an apron to wear and help in the kitchen. My daughter lets her children her in the cooking and baking. It is a really great family time together. Children love to eat something they have created. They also love to plant in the garden and harvest the fruits of their labor.

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