I honestly believe that. To me, the question isn’t “what can I cook with my child?” the question is “what task or roll can I give my little one while we are making this recipe?”
WHAT you’re making is almost irrelevant, it’s HOW you involve them that makes the difference.
I have baked the same Apple Cinnamon Muffins with both of my kids dozens of times before. We use the same Picturized Recipe EVERY TIME.
However, the tasks I have my one year old daughter do to help are quite different than the tasks that my 3 year old son gets to do.
My one year old gets to do lots of measuring, mixing and pouring… where my three year old gets to slightly more skillful tasks like slice and grate the apples
They are both cooking the same recipe, but play different rolls in the process.
So the answer to the questions: “what can a 3 year old cook?” AND “what can a 1 year old cook” ends up being the same exact thing to me, they can both make Apple Cinnamon Muffins
Experience and practice matters too
Daniel and I started cooking with both our kiddos when they were only 6 months old. They were just being introduced to solid foods and my husband and I started getting them to “help” make meals with us. (By helping I mostly mean smelling spices and holding utensils)
And because we had introduced them to the world of cooking at such a young age, they have developed skills and abilities in the kitchen that they never would have learned if we hadn’t.
Therefore the answer to the questions: what can a 3 year old cook? What can a 7 year old cook? What can a 10 year old cook… Would also be subjective to how much exposure and experience they’ve had to cooking previously.
For example: My 3 year old son and 1 year old daughter were capable of preparing a full spaghetti and meat sauce dinner for the family with basically no help, all I did was drain the hot water from the noodles. They did everything else.
But they’ve also had A LOT of practice cooking in the kitchen! Literally years (which sounds weird when they’re so little, but it’s true.)
Other children just starting out are probably more at the skill level of mixing and dumping and so giving them cutting or stove tasks would be super dangerous!
Think about when you first learned to cook… did you start with making an entire meal with a rack of lamb and risotto or something simple like KD?
Odds are you started out with something simple, built up your skills and confidence, then gradually tried making meals that were more and more difficult.
This is why I think: “What can I cook with a toddler?” = anything if you practice
The tasks you let them try
When you’re confident that you’ve taught your kiddo kitchen safety and give your little one the opportunity to take charge and try new tasks on their own, you might be shocked at what they are capable of.
I know every time I let one of my littles try a slightly more dangerous or complicated task on their own I cringe a little
But EVERY TIME I am pleasantly surprised and super proud of how they take charge and confidently do the task with no problems.
Some recipe suggestions
The reason I created Picturized Recipes was because, once I realized that giving little ones hands on tasks is the most effective way to stop cooking chaos, I wanted to create the best hands on tool I possibly could for the job.
So even though I’ve already mentioned that you can cook anything with your kids, I thought I’d pair a few Picturized Recipes based on some common cooking with kids questions I’ve seen on Google.
So a few Picturized Recipe suggestions for the question “what can I cook with my 2 year old?” are:
For the question: “what can I bake with a 3 year old?” I suggest:
When it comes to the question “what can I cook with my 4 year old?” I think these Picturized Recipes would be perfect:
Lastly my Picturized Recipes suggestions for the question “What can I cook with a 5 year old?” are:
Please remember that these are just some suggestions and the fact is that you can cook any Picturized Recipe with your child of any age.
my kids are only 1 and 3 and they have made all of these recipes numerous times successfully
I don’t want you to feel limited by what I have written here, all Picturized Recipes we’re made with the intention of making it easier to cook with your little one so all of them are fair game to try
And even if you don’t use any Picturized Recipes, you can still successfully cook anything with your little one no matter how old they are 🙂
We’re always posting about our cooking adventures!