10 Ways Tiny Helps in the Kitchen

Welcome to the November Carnival of Natural Parenting: Kids in the Kitchen
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared how kids get involved in cooking and feeding. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

10 Ways Tiny Helps In The Kitchen: HybridRastaMama.com

2 ½ is a great age for children to start really playing an active role in meal preparation, cooking, baking, and clean up. They have a much better understanding of kitchen gadgets, safety, and food.

Tiny has always played a role in cooking. Whether she was a wee one in the Beco simply present while I threw together a quick lunch or an intricate dinner or standing in her learning tower mixing playing with flour and water, Tiny has been exposed to all things “kitchen” since day one.

Tiny has a play kitchen and frequently prefers to spend time making her meals there while I make the family meals in “mommy’s kitchen.” However, I afford her the opportunity to work alongside me whenever possible. Tiny helping usually ends up in a giggle fest and mass cleanup but the joy in her eyes as she helps me is priceless.

Without any further fanfare, here are the 10 ways in which Tiny helps me in the kitchen.

1.   Tiny carefully adds ingredients into the bowl of the stand mixer, rarely spilling anything.

2.   Tiny diligently uses a spatula to scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl.

3.   Tiny fills muffin tins with batter, keeping wayward batter in check.

4.   Tiny find the correct spices and seasonings from the spice drawer and measures them out, adding them to whatever we are preparing.

5.   Tiny tears lettuce leaves for salad and expertly uses the salad spinner.

6.   Tiny peels bananas, properly disposing of the peel.

7.   Tiny washes dishes with great care and concern.

8.   Tiny loads and unloads the dish washer carefully putting each item in its rightful place.

9.   Tiny puts produce away in the produce bin of the refrigerator and keeps the condiments organized in the door pockets.

10.  Tiny sweeps, vacuums, and mops up any and all spills on the floor after a busy day of batch cooking.


And here are the REAL 10 ways Tiny helps me in the kitchen.

1.   Tiny tries to carefully add ingredients into the bowl of the stand mixer but usually some spill occurs. Either that, or the ingredients end up in her mouth!

2.   Tiny cheerfully uses the spatula to poke and prod at whatever concoction is in the mixing bowl. If she pulls it up with some batter or dough on it, she will immediately begin playing with her newfound best friend.

3.   Tiny has an absolute ball using a soup ladle to fill muffin tins full of batter. Batter ends up everywhere imaginable (including her hair, face, mouth, and feet) but it is giggle fest 9,000 throughout the process. And occasionally, she actually manages to get most of the batter in the muffin tins.

4.   Tiny makes a mad dash for the open spice drawer grabbing as many jars as she can. She immediately heads to her play kitchen where she attempts to hide hoard them for her own purposes later on.

5.   Tiny gets bored tearing lettuce leaves once she realizes that there is a salad spinner available and beckoning her to give it whirl after whirl after whirl. The lettuce leaves are abandon and toy after toy is added to the spinner, gleefully whirling around.

6.   Tiny is truly a banana peeling aficionado however, the peels get flung about. Aiming for the ceiling fan is an especially fun thing to do with banana peels.

7.   What wee one does not enjoy washing dishes? After all, it is an excuse for water play. Tiny is no different. She will happily spend hours at the sink cleaning dish after dish, utensil after utensil. The kitchen looks like a pipe exploded after the fact but that just keeps the floor super clean!

8.   Tiny takes great pride in loading and unloading the dishwasher. As soon as she is otherwise occupied, I scurry behind her and reload. At least she tries. Unloading is also a task Tiny relishes. However, her definition of unloading means attempting to place the dishes on the counter in the general vicinity of their storage area. She is still a little too short to get said dishes onto the counter and we have had a few casualties along the way. Oh well. Life goes on and there are always cheap dishes at Goodwill!

9.   When the fridge is open, Tiny seizes the opportunity to rush anything she can grab to her own play kitchen, stealthily hiding it behind her own play produce and perishables.

10. Tiny really does an excellent job sweeping and mopping up spills. She also has a pint sized vacuum and does everything in her power to help me vacuum up messes. She is getting more skilled and less reluctant to use the hand vac.

I love Tiny’s company in the kitchen whether she is helping me, observing me, slowing the entire process down whilst having fun doing it, or making a complete and utter mess. As she grows and refines her skills and abilities the two of us will form a bond creating healthy meals and delicious baked good for our family. My fondest memories are being in the kitchen with my mother and by the time I was 5 I could make a meal with very little oversight. I want this same for Tiny.


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • Baking & letting go — Cooking with kids can be a mess. Nadia at Red White & GREEN Mom is learning to relax, be patient, and have fun with the process.
  • Family feeding in Child of Mine — Lauren at Hobo Mama reviews Ellyn Satter’s suggestions for appropriate feeding and points out where her family has problems following through.
  • Children with Knives! (And other Kitchen Tools) — Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy teaches her children how to safely use knives.
  • “Mommy, Can I Help?” — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment writes about how she lets her kiddos help out with cooking, despite her {sometimes} lack of patience!
  • Solids the Second Time Around — Sheryl at Little Snowflakes recounts her experiences introducing solids to her second child.
  • The Adventure of Toddler TastebudsThe Accidental Natural Mama shares a few things that helped her daughter develop an adventurous palate.
  • A Tradition of Love — Kelly at Becoming Crunchy looks forward to sharing the kitchen traditions passed on from her mom and has already found several ways to involve baby in the kitchen.
  • The Very Best Classroom — Alicia C. at McCrenshaw’s Newest Thoughts reveals how her kitchen is more than a place to make food – it’s a classroom!
  • Raising Little Chefs — Chef Mike guest posts on Natural Parents Network about how he went from a guy who couldn’t cook to a chef who wanted to teach his boys to know how the food we love is made.
  • In the Kitchen with my kids — Isil at Smiling like Sunshine shares a delicious soup recipe that her kids love.
  • Papa, the Pancake Artist — Papa’s making an incredible breakfast over at Our Mindful Life.
  • Kids won’t eat salad? Try this one! — Tat at Mum in Search is sharing her children’s favourite salad recipe.
  • Recipe For a Great Relationship — Cooking with kids is about feeding hearts as well as bellies, writes Hannah at Wild Parenting.
  • The Ritual of Mealtimes — Syenna at Gently Parenting Twins writes about the significance of mealtimes in her family’s daily rhythm.
  • Kid, Meet Food. Food, Kid. — Alburnet at What’s Next? panicks about passing on her food “issues” to her offspring.
  • Growing Up in the Kitchen — Cassie at There’s a Pickle in My Life shares how her son is growing up in the kitchen.
  • Harvesting Corn and History — From Kenna at School Garden Year: The kids in the school garden harvest their corn and learn how much history grows in their food.
  • My Guiding Principles for Teaching my Child about Food — Tree at Mom Grooves uses these guiding principles to give her daughter a love of good food and an understanding of nutrition as well as to empower her to make the best choices for her body.
  • Kitchen Control — Amanda at Let’s Take the Metro writes about her struggles to relinquish control in the kitchen to her children.
  • Food — Emma at Your Fonder Heart lets her seven month old teach her how to feed a baby.
  • Kitchen Fun? — Adrienne at Mommying My Way questions how much fun she can have in a non-functional kitchen, while trying to remain positive about the blessings of cooking for her family.
  • Kitchen Adventures — Erica at ChildOrganics shares fun ways to connect with your kids in the kitchen.
  • Kids in the Kitchen: Finding the Right Tools — Melissa at Vibrant Wanderings shares some of her favorite child-sized kitchen gadgets and where to find them.
  • The Kitchen Classroom — Laura at Authentic Parenting knows that everything your kids want to learn is at the end of the ladle.
  • Kids in the Kitchen — Luschka from Diary of a First Child talks about the role of the kitchen in family communication and shares fun kitchen activities for the under two.
  • Our Kitchen is an Unschooling Classroom. — Terri at Child of the Nature Isle explores the many ways her kitchen has become a rich environment for learning.
  • Montessori-Inspired Food Preparation for Preschoolers — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares lots of resources for using Montessori food preparation activities for young children in the kitchen.
  • My Little Healthy Eater — Christine at African Babies Don’t Cry shares her research on what is the best first food for babies, and includes a healthy and yummy breakfast recipe.
  • Two Boys and Papa in the Kitchen: Recipe for Disaster?MudpieMama shares all about her fears, joys and discoveries when the boys and handsome hubby took over the kitchen.
  • Food choices, Food treats — Henrietta at Angel Wings and Herb Tea shares her family’s relationship with food.
  • learning to eat — Catherine at learner mummy reflects on little M’s first adventures with food.
  • The Night My 7-Year-Old Made Dinner — Melodie at Breastfeeding Moms Unite! shares how her 7-year-old daughter surprised everyone by turning what started as an idea to play restaurant into pulling off making supper for her family.
  • Cooking With a High-Needs Toddler — Sylvia at MaMammalia describes how Montessori-inspired activities and a bit of acceptance have helped her overcome hurdles in cooking while caring for a “high-needs” child.
  • Kids in the Kitchen – teaching healthy food choices — Brenna at Almost All The Truth shares her belief in the importance of getting kids into the kitchen using her favorite cookbook for kids to develop healthy food choices now and hopefully into the future.
  • Make Milk, Not War — Tamara at Tea for Three remembers the daily food fights as she struggled to feed a picky eater.
  • teaching baby birds about good food. — Sarah at Small Bird on Fire writes about the ways in which her family chooses to gently teach their son how to make wise food decisions.
  • 5 Ways to Enhance Your Baby or Young Toddler’s Relationship with Food — Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama shares simple ways to give your child a healthy beginning to her lifelong relationship with food.
  • Toddler at the Table: 10 Creative Solutions — Moorea at Mamalady shares tips for preventing meal-time power struggles.
  • How My Child Takes Responsibility During His Mealtime… — Jenny @ I’m a full-time mummy shares how she teaches and encourages her 32 months old son on adopting good manners and responsibilities during his mealtimes…
  • Kids in the Kitchen: 6 Tips Plus a Recipe — Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings shares six tips for overcoming some of the the difficulties of cooking with multiple young sous chefs, and a recipe they all can agree on!
  • How BLW has made me a better parent — Zoe at Mummykins shares how baby-led weaning has changed her approach to parenting.
  • My Budding Chef — Jenny at Chronicles of a Nursing Mom is no cook but is happy that her daughter has shown an inclination and manages to whip up yummy goodies for their family.
  • Kids in the Kitchen: An Activity for Every Age — Gaby from Tmuffin describes how she keeps her kids busy in the kitchen, whether they are one week old or two years old.
  • The Phantastically Mutlipurposed Phyllo — Ana at Pandamoly shares how Phyllo is used to create enticing dishes at home! Anything can be made into a Struedel!
  • Kitchen Kids — Laura from A Pug in the Kitchen shares her children’s most favorite recipe to make, experience and eat.
  • Independence vs. Connection in the Kitchen: won’t you please get yourself your own snack already? — Lisa at Organic Baby Atlanta wishes her daughter would just go make a mess in the kitchen. But her daughter only wants to do it together.
  • Grandma Rose’s Kitchen — Abbie at Farmer’s Daughter reminisces about her childhood and dreams of filling her kitchen with people, love, noise, and messes.
  • Healthy Food Choices for Kids — Jorje offers one way to encourage children to make their own healthy food choices at MommaJorje.com.
  • Cooking food to thrive rather than survive — Phoebe at Little Tinker Tales is trying to foster a lifetime of good food habits by teaching her children about the importance of avoiding junk, cooking healthy meals, and learning about the whole food process.
  • Evolution of a self-led eater — Sheila at A Gift Universe shares the story of how her son grew from nursing around the clock to eating everything in sight, without her having to push.
  • 10 Ways Tiny Helps In The Kitchen — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama explores the ways in which her toddler actively participates in kitchen-related activities.
  • The Complexity of Feeding a Child — Feeding children a healthy diet is no straight-forward task, but Lisa at My World Edenwild shares some general guidelines to help your child thrive.
  • Lactation CookiesThat Mama Gretchen shares a fun recipe that will benefit both mamas and babies!
  • 50 of the Best Books, Websites, & Resources to Inspire Kids in the Kitchen — Need inspiration to get your kids in the kitchen? Dionna at Code Name: Mama rounds up some of the best books and websites that can serve as a source for ideas, recipes, and cooking with littles fun.
  • A 4-year-old’s smoothie recipe — Jen at Grow With Graces and her son set out to make a smoothie without the usual ingredients. She let him improvise. See how it turned out.
  • Independent Food Preparation (My Toddler Can Do That?) — Megan at Montessori Moments shares simple ways for children to prepare their own healthy snacks.
  • Follow Your Gut — Amy at Anktangle shares her philosophy about intuitive eating, and how she’s trying to foster her son’s trust in his own inner wisdom when he feels hungry.
  • A TODDLER-STYLE LUNCH + RECIPEManic Mrs. Stone photographs how to have messy fun during lunchtime with a helpful toddler.

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  1. says

    I was going to say, “Whoa! Two and a half?! No way my kid will be able to do that by two and a half!” But your second list is a great relief. Also hilarious.

  2. says

    I read the first list and thought, “Man, she’s got one very unusual child!” Then I read the other list and was nodding my head the whole time. I always get frustrated at the wet, soapy floor that is left after the dishes are done. I think I’m going to start looking at it your way – CLEAN FLOOR!

  3. says

    Ah! I loved reading your REAL list :) Such patience to teach them the way around the kitchen. I am sure you’ll be rewarded with an expert chef who loves healthy foods :)

  4. says

    LOL thanks for the laugh. Loved the description of the chair scraping across the floor, haha. I know the feeling. Reading your first list I thought maybe you had a child who was extraordinarily receptive to the Montessori method or something, lol. This is yet another great reminder for me to involve my son more in meal prep…don’t do it enough I think.

  5. Dionna @ Code Name: Mama says

    Tiny uses a scraper to SCRAPE things? And here Kieran’s been thinking that scrapers were made to TASTE things 😉 (j/k) For real though – I love the two lists, that is totally how it is in our kitchen too :)

  6. says

    I enjoyed this post, the “real” list had me giggling away. My 14-month-old is currently dishwasher obsessed and constantly trying to climb into it…

  7. says

    HILARIOUS! You totally had me there. I was thinking, “Oh, my gosh, she already knows all her spices? My four-year-old isn’t doing that yet!” Ha!

    Anyway, I really appreciate your joyful tone radiating through this. Yea for Goodwill dishes! Mikko’s newest fun thing is unloading the dishwasher as well. :)

  8. says

    Hahaha! I love your two lists! And here I was thinking that in a few months I can tell my husband that Munchkin can take over unloading the dishwasher. Ha!

    I also love and share your attitude about getting the little ones involved in the kitchen. Beautiful! I didn’t have that with my own mother, but I’m hoping to have that with my son.

  9. says

    [I am convinced I wrote a comment here the other day but I must have clicked off before posting it – oops!]
    I loved this post. My littlest is currently obsessed with trying to get in the dishwasher, I try and tell her that her regular baths with suffice but she’s having none of it! And she is a speedy herbs and spices thief too. I was giggling the whole way through your “real” list.

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