I am the mum of Emma a lovely and active 14 months old baby girl. Like all kids at this age she loves learning things, discovering new textures and being surprised by her environment. As a food lover I chose to involved her in the kitchen really early. Many mums think that we have to wait until the age of 2 to get kids in the kitchen. I do not thing so. It actually depends on how you are involving them in the kitchen. Of course a 1 year old is not able to count or measure ingredient but he can do many other things that will make them learn so much! We did Mini Custard Pie with Coconut Milk and Mango.
This is the 5 activities I asked her to do to keep busy in the kitchen:
Stir. Kids love to mix ingredients and look at the change of colour and texture. Give them a whisk and they will love shaking liquids, egg mixture, milk.
Combine food. Give them a wooden spoon and ask them to combine fruits or chunky ingredient in the flour mixture. They will be really busy trying to cover each bite of food by the flour mixture.
Roll the dough. Yes a 14 months can roll dough. No need of a small roller. Give them a wooden roller and make the dough soft and easy to squeeze between the bench top and roller. It is a really interesting experience for them to see how you can shape things.
Setting up the oven. Toddler loves pressing button on remote controller, TV etc. Use this skills and ask them to set up the oven for you. My girl has been really impressed when the light of the oven start after pressing some button. Well now she want to start the oven all the time so be safe and shut down the power of the oven when you do not bake.
Tasting food. Give a piece of each ingredient to your kid and explain them what it is. They will explore new taste and texture. I did mini custard pie with mango and my girl love licking the mango kernel.
I wrote this article based on the ability of my 14 months baby girl. Of course each kids are different and the main thing to remember is adapt the activity to your kids age and skills.
Kids are getting frustrated really quickly so do not ask them to do something too complicated. Also leave them make a big mess. They need to have fun !