It's been a long time now since I have lasted made a major effort in the kitchen. Of course we cook our meals, but I used to love trying new things, making new meals, and generally experimenting.
First of all because in the family, cooking has always been a matter of passion. Whether it's my husband or I, we love it! He, loves to prepare deserts, me, I love to eat them! It therefore seems natural to us to pass on the things we love and know how to do to our offspring.
On Tuesday we end up brainstorming ideas, I wanted to introduce new things to our son. Things he has never experienced before Of course we go out, we go to the park, we walk, we play but I wanted to set up a kind of special moment just for us where I could make him discover new horizons.
And then we had it, what better way to learn textures, to develop baby's touch, to develop the precision of his gestures, but also to perfect his grasp of objects of different shapes and sizes while developing his vocabulary?
Yes but lo and behold, I was afraid to start thinking that my little baby was far too small, that from the top of his 13.5 months he would not get anything and that it would annoy him more than anything else … I spoke with our pediatrician and she felt like we could get started without worrying, that anyway, we don't try is a lost opportunity!
So we started cooking.
For more practicality, I preferred to put him in his high chair, so that he could see better but also to keep the activity in one place.
I must admit that I was a little worried that he would not like it or that it would not interest him at all, still I preceded. First I started with an explanation of what we were going to be doing. His gaze was questioning as he looked at all the objects and ingredients I presented to him attentively.
For each ingredient, I showed him the package then I put some on his high chair tray. He touched the ingredients with his fingertips first and then put them in to his mouth and then finally put them everywhere else.
When you plan a cooking activity with a baby do not be afraid to dirty up your kitchen or that your baby will be equally as messy afterwards!
For the kitchen utensils, I did the same as with the ingredients. This time, however, I showed him them as we needed them during the recipe: wooden spoon, plastic bowl, brush, rolling pin, spatula, etc. In short, everything is passed into his hands for him to inspect! Of course it should go without saying that you should not pass your child any dangerous utensils and the recipe should be baby safe.
We made shortbread, a simple recipe but perfect for the first step as an apprentice cook. Simply put all the ingredients in a bowl and let baby mix up.
At each step, it is enough to show first while explaining then let your baby imitate your: mix with the spoon, knead with your hands, touch and spread the dough, press it with your hand, etc…
Our child followed along, he's a clever little boy, and he got a lot of pleasure from touching, kneading, putting in the mouth, crushing, throwing, putting it in the bowl, remove from the bowl, mix, smear on head. Well you get the idea.
He was also very focused when it was time to mix but by the time he finished he had worked so hard that he was getting tired. Suffice to say that the dough was more than kneaded and mixed, no risk of lumps!
These are all mundane things to us, but they are new and exciting things when you do them the first time. I am amazed at what he learned and to my surprise, he was really very receptive to the entire exercise. He understood what I was asking him and repeated the gestures I showed him, first without the utensil and then with it in the bowl!
As an activity her was able to:
- Learn new things;
- Improve object manipulation and gripping;
- Learn the importance of precision of his gestures: put the spoon in the bowl, turn the spoon in the bowl, put the dough on the baking sheet, crush the dough, make stamps on the dough and so forth;
- Improve and increase his concentration time;
- To learn a new vocabulary related to food, verbs like mixing, kneading, measuring and so forth;
- And most importantly? It was a special moment to bond.
And as a bonus, we were able to enjoy some good homemade cookies.
Basically, you can make any activity into something fun and you will have a little fan ready to do it again very soon!