Try out today some of these easy and fun ideas for daily kitchen activities with your toddler and get your 2-year-old and 3-year-old toddler helping around the house. These are part of our regular indoor toddler activities at home.
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This is not only a great learning opportunity for your little one, but also a chance for you to teach them to help out at home. Well worth it to start early with this one, so you can get them involved when they still want to. Later is always harder.
Benefits of these kitchen activities
Through these simple toddler kitchen activities, your child learns and improves
- Sense of order.
And as you know, those skills are essential for learning and success in life. Here are the most important benefits in a nutshell:
- Skill Development: Participating in kitchen activities allows toddlers to develop essential life skills such as pouring, stirring, and spreading. These practical experiences enhance fine and gross motor skills, coordination, and hand-eye coordination.
- Independence: In the kitchen, toddlers can gain a sense of autonomy by actively participating in preparing their meals or snacks. This builds their confidence and self-esteem.
- Sensory Exploration: Kitchen activities offer a rich sensory experience. Toddlers can explore various textures, smells, and tastes, contributing to their sensory development. This hands-on exploration enhances their understanding of the world around them.
- Language Development: Describing the ingredients, following simple recipes, and engaging in conversations during kitchen activities promote language development. It introduces new vocabulary and encourages communication skills.
- Practical Life Skills: The kitchen is an ideal setting for learning these skills. Toddlers can grasp concepts of order, sequencing, and responsibility as they engage in activities like setting the table or washing dishes.
- Cultural Awareness: Involvement in kitchen activities exposes toddlers to different cuisines and cultural practices related to food preparation. This helps them develop an early understanding and appreciation for diversity.
- Promoting Healthy Eating Habits: When toddlers actively participate in the preparation of meals, they are more likely to develop a positive attitude towards food. This hands-on approach encourages healthy eating habits from a young age.
In particular, these kitchen activities are great for children for ages 2 to 3. They have better coordination and concentration now. And what’s also very important, it’s easier for them to communicate than before. Also, their gross motor and fine motor skills are well developed. As a result, your little one can help with simple tasks. However, don’t expect a perfect quality and no mess. It can get a little bit messy. It’s a learning process and every day it gets better.
- Step Stool to reach the kitchen counter
- Small table
- Safe, kids-friendly knife (we use Ikea plastic children’s knives and disposable plastic knifes)
- Two bowls
How can toddlers help in the kitchen?
Here are some of the activities that we do with our 2-year-old at home. These activities are easy and fun! Just try out what your little one likes to help out with. Our recommendation – in most cases use an apron!
1. Washing Fruits and Vegetables
As simple as it sounds, washing fruits and vegetables can be your first step to start teaching your toddler about food safety in the kitchen. Additionally, it can be great and wet fun for your little one.
Check out this fun One Potato, two potatoes kitchen activity by Aiden in Action.
2. Kneading dough
Kneading dough is a great and safe sensory activity. It can get quite messy, but it’s super fun for your little one mostly. Our little one does not like it sometimes because it sticks to his hands. However, he loves to use the rolling pin and the cookie cutter afterwards.
Blending is number one kitchen activity for our son. He does it ever since he can stand on his own legs. Maybe, your little one will love it too. Take always a deep bowl to keep the spillage limited.
4. Baking cookies, cakes and similar pastries
Yummy! But what age to start baking with a toddler? From our experience, 24 Months sounds pretty good if you want them to help out and to understand basic safety. Almost all toddlers love to bake and in the most cases even picky eaters have a bite or two with no complains.
5. Making pancakes and crepes
Pancakes are a great breakfast and snack ideas for kids. Teach them to make healthy pancakes like for example Banana-Oatmeal-Pancakes and you do them a favour for life.
6. Peeling orange, banana
Not only a great fine motor activity, but also another way to teach your toddler healthy food choices from early on.
7. Peeling carrots, cucumbers and potatoes with a peeler
Another great fine motor activity! Moreover, carrots and cucumbers are great snacks to eat every day.
8. Making orange juice
Making orange juice with a hand squeezer is a great fine motor activity. Additionally, orange juice is yummy and healthy and the spillage can be cleaned easily.
9. Cutting soft foods like butter, cheese, bread, fruits, boiled eggs
We recommend to use Ikea plastic children’s knives or disposable plastic knifes and let your little one enjoy cutting.
10. Unload the Dishwasher
That works pretty well, however let your little helper pick the dishes one by one. And if you have sharp knives in the dishwasher, take them out before your little one does. That’s our recommendation.
11. Cutlery sorting
After unloading the dishwasher, show your toddler how to sort cutlery in the cutlery divider. Just show them where the forks, knifes, and spoons go. Compare sizes and make some cutlery music in between.
12. Transferring and pouring solids
This can be pretty messy, but it’s at the same time quick clean. You can use beans, lentils, alphabet pasta, pasta and similar. You put two bowls in front of your little one. The one full with the solids and the other empty. Then show them how to transfer for example beans with the spoon, spoon by spoon. If something falls outside pick it up and put it in the bowl. The activity can be repeated many times. If your toddler is like mine, be prepared for lots of spillage! There is no plastic bin in the world to limit it. He is super concentrated and can repeat the activity forever, however he seems to enjoy spilling it everywhere. Anyway, this activity is great fine motor activity.
13. Pouring water and milk
There were times when our little one would have a sip from a glass and then pour it out on the floor. Every single time. I’m super happy that these times are almost over. Now, pouring water and milk is a daily activity with less and less spillage every day. We use always glasses and porcelain in his size and an IKEA box from our toy storage to limit the spillage.
14. Mincing garlic
Mincing garlic to a smooth paste is a good idea in many recipes. Good that our 3-year-old got his own personal garlic mincer from Raddish Kids. Check out this video of him mincing garlic.
We tried Raddish Kids lately and we really liked this fun cooking club for kids. Aiden loves cooking, so he was so excited to try Raddish Kids. The culinary fun is perfect for families with kids ages 4-14 and well worth to try it at home!
Give it a try with a simple monthly delivery!
Happy Family culinary dates this winter!
this toddler routine aligns with Montessori principles by fostering independence, skill development, sensory exploration, and a positive attitude towards practical life tasks.
Hope you got some good ideas! Happy Playing!
Book recommendation: Practical Guide to the Montessori Method at Home, by Julia Palmarola