In the same spirit as my call to "Bring cooking down to your child's level," here's a real-life photo journal of how our three-year-old does some of his own food preparation and cooking. I was there to supervise and assist as needed, but I mostly just stood back and watched him go.
When children prepare and choose their own foods, it makes them more likely to want to eat (if that's an issue around your house), and it can help make eating and cooking enjoyable rather than a power struggle or chore.
Plus, I think it's just good to realize how competent our children really are, and what kind of responsibility they can handle if we let them.
Preschooler makes his own fries
Would this be more impressive if it were a salad instead of frozen french fries?
Well, at least it's not Muddy Buddies.
Mikko chooses his own food and knows where to find it.
He counts out how many he needs.
A sturdy step stool can help shorter kids navigate kitchen counters. We found a couple two-step ones at Target and Ikea, which are similar to this one at Amazon, but something even taller and sturdier like the Little Partners Learning Tower would be even better.
(Yes, I'm coveting.)
An easy way for little kids to heat pre-cooked food is by pushing the toast button down on the toaster oven.
Mikko lets me handle the food and oven once they're hot, and I got the plate down for him from our rather high cabinets. If our (non-precious) plates were stored accessibly, though, that would be a great way for kids to help themselves and learn to set the table, too!
Mikko knows his condiments.
His father helps with the aiming.
I just want to point out that the rest of his meal is behind him: a banana, an orange, a butter sandwich, and some organic cookies. He's a grazer!
The one picture that turned out too blurry was when he first offered me a fry, which I thought was rather sweet! I guess he must have thought I was famished, what with my camerawoman duties and all.
It tasted very good!
How do your kids help choose and prepare their own food?