During the holiday season life can be hectic and it can be easy to ask children to step aside and find something to do while we make holiday recipes and meals. The truth is that they LOVE to be included and truly can help woth many things. Here are five ideas of ways that your children can help prepare holiday goodies around your home.
1) Prepare Vegetables. Children can husk corn, pull the ends of beans, pull romaine lettuce apart, add ingredients to a salad, and wash any vegetable in the sink that you ask them too. I like to use our Little Partners Learning Tower and put it right up to the sink and let them wash potatoes, beans, broccoli, and more! And you might be surprised how often they want to try what they have helped prepare…yes even vegetables!
2) Pour, Mix, and Stir. Children LOVE to combine and mix. Try measuring out the ingredients for a recipe and then ask your child to come over and pour them altogether. And then allow them to mix the ingredients together. This is great for can sauces, casseroles, cookies, salads, and more. Sometimes they may mix more than needed, but a little extra mixing of mashed potatoes never hurt anyone;)
3) Sprinkle. Are you adding grated cheese, hemp hearts, raisins, pomegranate seeds, lemon juice, diced apples, nuts, seeds, or coconut to any dishes? If so, this is a really awesome activity for children. It may not seem like much to you, but to them it’s really special!
4) Knead. If you are making any recipes that require kneading or separating of dough, this is a great one for sensory play and development. Children love to explore new textures and get their hands dirty. So whether it’s gingerbread or your old family Christmas bun recipe, get them right in there. Baked goods made with the love of a child’s hand ALWAYS taste better.
5) Pull Apart. If you are making a turkey dinner, you are likely making stuffing. Children can pull bread apart so easily and will love that they are actually allowed to do so! Lol. Once you have a big bowl of cubes bread, this is a great teaching moment as you can show them the other ingredients you add in. Then as children get older, they can help with that part too and eventually can declare that they made the holiday stuffing! This is something my mom has always done a wonderful job of. She let me help out from a very young age and I know my confidence in the kitchen stems from that.
This is just a few ideas for you as you create new memories and traditions with your little ones this holiday season. At the end of it all you will likely feel a touch more frazzled than if you had worked on it alone, but your heart will be much fuller and the memories you make will last much longer than any of the food you bake.
Until next time, stay healthy!