Cooking with kids is a great toddler activity that can lead to your child taking a greater interest in what they eat. And helping them expand their picky palates!

Here are some fun and kid-friendly recipes your child can make or attempt with little-to-no help!

  1. Jello – if you heat the water, they can enjoy stirring until the gelatin dissolves. It’s a fast and easy recipe they’ll love to eat later that day.
  2. Chex mix – You might be hearing crunches underfoot for a few days, but measuring out chex mix can be a great way to have them practice scoop and pouring skills! Maybe counting too?
  3. GORP – similar to the chex mix, throwing together some Good Old Raisins and Peanuts (and whatever other goodies you like to include) is pretty much no fail? I mean, can you really add in TOO many chocolate chips?
  4. Shape cookies – Bring out the cookie cutters, or have children cut their own shapes with plastic knives. You’ll have to roll the dough out… and this one does have the potential for great mess. But it’s a good supervised cooking activity.
  5. Thumb print cookies – Plan to make and drop your own cookies on the sheet. Then call your little one over to smash each ball down with their thumb. You’ll be eating those little love-printed cookies in no time! Older kids might be able to manage the dropping part too!
  6. Ants on a log - Shmear a celery stick (deveined) with peanut butter (or substitute). Then let your child plop the “ants (raisins or craisins) onto the “log!” Yummy!
  7. Cupcake decorating – Anything goes on top of frosting. Try sprinkles, mini M&Ms or chocolate chips!
  8. Apple Shake – put sliced apples, sugar and cinnamon into a Ziploc bag. Have your toddler shake to coat. Eat.
  9. Sandwiches - Kids will love to spread jelly onto bread. Or layer lunchmeat. And maybe they’ll even eat their crusts?! If not, they can practice cutting with a dull plastic knife.
  10. Mud Balls - Better than a mud pie – you can really eat these. However, I’m SURE they will create some kind of mess. Oh well!
  11. BONUS: I just found this cute “Painted Toast” idea! Fun, artistic, and edible!

What other kitchen activities do you recommend for 1-3 year olds?

Have you been keeping up with my 101 Toddler Activity Guides? You might enjoy:

Leave a Comment

  • annisa April 23, 2013, 7:42 pm

    wow! didnt expect fast response! but yes im interested in the child safe knife? and any ideas. we all have to eat, and cooking nutritious meals is lifeskill that can benefit all ages :)

  • annisa April 23, 2013, 7:37 pm

    my son loves to stir and manipulate food. small wonder, considering how he attentively watches me preparing meals! looking for more 3 yo asnd up cooking activities and ideas :)

  • Dove February 15, 2012, 7:54 pm

    My 2.5-year-old LOVES to make granola with me. She helps me dump the ingredients into the big mixing bowl and stir them, but her favorite part is sprinkling in the spices. She knows what to put in now, too. Since proportions don’t matter much for granola, it’s ok if she spills…or samples.

    She also loves to help mash things, like potatoes for mashed potatoes or chickpeas for falafel — and of course she adds spices to those, too :)

  • T Rex Mom September 4, 2011, 4:16 pm

    I did a blog posting over year ago on making granola. T Rex used to do that with me all the time. Anything that involves stirring he likes to help with. Bebe Sister likes to put her hands in things too much that I prefer her to have “pretend” things to stir. Having the two of them compounds messes so often I work solo in the kitchen.

    Mostly, we do a lot of playdough “cooking”. This they enjoy.

  • Chelly August 30, 2011, 10:06 am

    Our daughter loves to help in the kitchen! Since we lived out of country, we’re not squeamish on preparing food on the floor and that helps a lot. I have polyester sheets that I put down so we’re not directly on the floor and makes for easier clean up.

    She’s 2.5 now and she’s been helping me since she was 1. When she was 1, she would help me knead bread, pour the measured things into the bowl, use her mixing spoon, wash veggies. Of course, I still had to do all of it but she loved doing it with me.

    Now she has her own knife (it’s not sharp) and helps cut things like zucchini, she tears lettuce and uses the lettuce spinner, she helps me open cans and pour them out. She sets the table and loves to help wash dishes. She likes to wear an apron just like me and know where everything goes in the kitchen, so she helps put away dishes and gets cleaning rags when there’s a mess.

    I’ve always made it fun and never made her help in the kitchen. I put on music and we’re sing and dance together and make it a good time. She is so much happier when she is included and given duties that are for her to do, like setting the table. It gives children a sense of belonging and being needed in their family. Just about every meal can be made with the help of a little one. Before things get hot, you can show them and talk to them about a can opener or how we cut things, how to hold a knife properly. It’s more time consuming at first but well worth showing our little ones their way around the kitchen.

    Thought I would also add that she does have boundaries. She’s not allowed to just go into the kitchen. She needs to ask permission or be invited. We don’t have to be as concerned about a little one under feet when we’re cooking and she understands that the stove may be very hot and hurt her. This was necessary in our small apartment kitchen.