Cooking with under 3 year olds

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  • It’s never too early to start encouraging your kids to help you out in the kitchen. Toddlers can’t help you extensively when it comes to cooking but there are plenty of ways to get them interested and involved and we’re here to show you exactly how with our cooking with kids guide.

    At this age it’s all about the senses – touch, smell and taste. Most 3-year-olds will love mixing, mashing and stirring ingredients as it’s fun and simple so give them a plastic spoon and a bowl and watch them go. You never know, you might have a master chef in the making!


    And if you’re struggling for recipe ideas and you want something simple to make then take a look at our 10 best recipes to make with under 3 year olds – we’ve got cupcakes, quiche and many more simple and delicious recipes to choose from.



    Safety first

    When cooking with toddlers, the most
    important task is ensuring they are safe at all times – we don’t need to
    tell you how unpredictable they can be! We’ve got 10 safety tips for cooking with kids which should help you think of the biggest dangers but the best advice is to keep the child away from all heated appliances, sharp utensils and unsafe raw ingredients such as eggs. If the recipes do call for contact with any of these, constant supervision is obviously required.

    Get them interested

    Give them a wooden spoon in a sizeable plastic bowl so you don’t lose too much of the mixture! Giving them a task of any size will make feel important too, which encourages them to get involved.

    Get them curious about food

    For younger toddlers, make space on a bottom shelf for plastic containers, wooden spoons and cheap pans so they learn to play with cooking implements. You could buy a kitchen play set or improvise with food boxes and containers.

    You can also get them interested in cooking by showing them what you’re doing, whether it’s your flour-covered hands or watching you pour cake mix into paper cases.


    Get them tasting

    Assuming that what you’re making is something they can eat, get them involved in the tasting process so they get used to trying homemade food.


    Get talking

    Talk to them while you cook. They’ll pick up the names of different food items and you’ll make them feel involved in what you’re doing.

    You could also get them to touch some of the ingredients e.g. soft flour or brown sugar so they get used to textures as well as taste.

    Where to next?

    It’s time to choose what you’re going to make with your tot – click on the picture below for our 10 best recipes to make with your young one! Happy cooking!

    10 best recipes to make with under 3 year olds

    More cooking guides:

    Cooking with kids: 3-6 year olds

    Cooking with kids: 7-11 year olds

    Cooking with kids: 12 years and over