Yes, they can! Obviously a toddler will not prepare a gourmet meal, but they can help in the preparation of their snacks and meals. Giving them the support and opportunities to help prepare their food teaches them the value of nutrition and lets them experience it firsthand. It has also been said that children who help cook are more likely to try eating new foods.
When a toddler is allowed to help in the preparation of their meals and snacks, they are also developing social skills. The communication between adult and child or amongst a group of children can help to build the social and vocabulary skills that are blossoming at this age.
Cooking doesn’t have to involve intricate steps and elaborate tools. Especially when cooking with toddlers, it is important to consider their fine motor skills and plan recipes that will give them opportunities to exercise them. For example, small bite-sized pieces of finger foods give them opportunities to practice pincer grip.
Toddlers can begin to learn about and value nutritious food choices early on by being exposed to them while helping cook or prepare meals and snacks. Exposing children to healthy foods as often as possible begins to build familiarity and comfortability with these foods which can eventually lead to healthy choices even as the child grows.
Watch the video below of this classroom of children from age 2 to 6 and answer the worksheet question next to it.
Video: Montessori in New Zealand: Young children preparing community lunch Source: Montessori New Zealand Length: 11:25
Times shown are Pacific Standard Time. If you are in Central or Eastern Time, you will need to adjust the time accordingly.
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