We are obsessed with our Kitchen Helper stool and Connor is LOVING cooking. He is very into pouring, dumping, stirring, and mixing with the hand mixer. Kevin and I have also noticed that when Connor helps cook, he is more likely to try both the ingredients and the finished product. He is super proud of whatever he makes! Obviously he doesn’t always like it, but my goal is always just to get him to TRY things and having him help has been a great way to accomplish that. Cooking is one of our most favorite activities to do together, but when cooking with a toddler, some recipes are definitely more kid-friendly than others!
Baked Oatmeal and Overnight Oatmeal
These are a win in everyone’s book. We all love oatmeal, we can prep breakfast for a day or two at a time to make mornings easier, and Connor can handle a lot of the steps himself. If there is fruit to chop, I will do that and have it in a bowl for him to dump in and mix (I do let him cut bananas with a butter knife though-with assistance!). Frozen fruit also works great for oatmeal recipes- and they are usually pre-chopped so all you need to help with is measuring it out! I try to get Connor cooking with me at least a little bit every day since he loves it so much, and having him help with breakfast is something he usually does 3-4 times a week.
Recipes from my blog: Blueberry Banana Baked Oatmeal (V, GF)
Raspberry Cacao Overnight Oats (GF, DF, V)
Peanut Butter & Berry Overnight Oats (V, GF, DF)
Our other favorite recipe: Banana Bread Baked Oatmeal
Note: I usually omit the nuts in oatmeal recipes because Connor won’t eat them (and they can be a choking hazard for young kiddos). For Kevin and I, I just add them to our portions when we are ready to eat.
These make a great healthy snack to grab when you’re in the mood for something sweet! I remove the blades from the food processor and let Connor dump the ingredients in. Then I make sure it’s totally out of his reach, put the blades back in, and we watch it get all processed together! Connor’s a little young to help roll them into balls, but older kids would love it!
Almost a given! Use store-bought dough for ease, or make your own. Practice rolling, pouring and spreading sauce, sprinkling cheese, and adding toppings. Bonus- what kid doesn’t like pizza?!
We LOVE measuring and pouring ingredients into the blender to make smoothies. It’s also a great way to get some veggies in your kiddo if that’s a problem (which it can be for us). I never use a recipe for smoothies- just almond milk, frozen or fresh fruit, and whatever other mix ins you like. Our favorite is peanut butter, almond milk, frozen banana, and spinach. That’s it! PS. Just make sure your blender is not plugged in while your kiddo is handling it. I also remove the blades and add it in after Connor puts the ingredients in. Safety first!
I cut the tops off of the peppers and remove the seeds and membranes, and Connor mixes up the filling. Our favorite recipes both require no additional chopping and are SUPER quick and easy to mix together. Bonus- they are both cooked in the crockpot!
Another no-brainer! What kid doesn’t like cookies? “Regular” cookies or healthier versions are both great! I try to do “healthier” as often as possible, but we don’t restrict what Connor eats and he is exposed to all things, so regular cookies are never off limits. Our favorite “regular” cookie recipe is classic Tollhouse Chocolate Chip, but as far as healthy ones go we like both of these from my blog: Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies (GF, DF) and Dairy-Free Pumpkin Walnut Oatmeal Cookies (DF)
Egg Salad/Tuna/Chicken Salad
Great for lunch! Connor wouldn’t eat egg salad until he made it himself- now he eats it! Use your go-to family recipes. Assist with peeling eggs, measuring all ingredients, and mixing! Eat on bread or with crackers for a healthy lunch.
Muffins are probably our favorite morning snack and we make them fairly often. It’s also a great way to sneak in some veggies in a tasty way if you have a picky eater. Muffins also freeze really well so they are perfect for reheating for on-the-go breakfasts and snacks. I usually shred all veggies ahead of time if required, but Connor does all of the pouring and mixing!
Connor loves bars of any kind- and making that home keeps them healthier, with simpler ingredients, and gives us an activity to do together. Great for easy breakfasts or snacks- and they pack up well if you’re on the go!
Our favorite recipes: Healthy Strawberry Oatmeal Bars
Healthy Blueberry Oatmeal Snack Bars
REALLY easy recipes to get started with:
If you’re hesitant to get started cooking with a toddler, there are some “simple” things you can try to ease your way in. Before I invested in a kitchen helper, these are the recipes we tried just to see how we both liked cooking together:
– Puppy Chow/Muddy Buddies (Connor measures and pours Chex cereal, Connor measures and dumps chocolate chips and peanut butter into bowl, I melt chocolate and pb, he pours on and mixes, and then measures/dumps powdered sugar and shakes it all up to coat)
– Pudding/Pudding Pies (Just dumping the powdered mix, measuring/pouring milk, and scooping into containers or into a store bought graham cracker pie crust)
– Pancakes from a mix (Just a few simple things to measure and pour, then an adult cooks!)
Here are a few other items that are nice to have (but not required) when cooking with young kids (this post contains affiliate links which allows me to earn a small commission on purchases at no cost to you):