wADmM5mNLtOv064mhMCS_CYE3Bc Just Dorothy: Good Chop, Bad Chop

Good Chop, Bad Chop

Kids are naturally curious. "Why?" is a favorite question. So is "how?". Sometimes it's best to show "why" and "how" with hands-on training! Think outside the box and come up with something age appropriate and tasty for your kids to help you make. Keep in mind, attention spans are not very long for the very young; they prefer quick, easy jobs and like quick results. That's not to say you shouldn't try something that requires cooking time, but the job of "helping" should be quick and fairly easy. Children that have a hand in preparing food have a better chance of eating it, which is great if you have a picky eater.

Little hands need a few little tools. Popsicle or craft sticks become great knives for cutting soft foods such as bananas. They are also amazing little spreaders for cream cheese and peanut butter. Here are a few hands-on, fairly simple recipes to try:

Bean Dip: In a plastic baggie, put 1/4 cup canned beans, such as pinto or red. Close the bag and have your child push and mash and squish those beans until they have it pretty mushed. Open the bag, have them toss in a little cheese if they prefer and let them dip tortilla chips.

Fruit & Cheese Kabobs: Wash and cut strawberries (you will do this with a knife so you can hull) in chunks. Have kids peel and cut bananas with a plastic knife (with supervision, of course!) or a craft stick. Trust me, the tiny hands can manage! You might have to start the banana but they can peel it the rest of the way. Cut 1 inch squares of cheese. Wash red or green grapes. Have your child slide the fruit and cheese onto a skewer. We use coffee stir sticks. Have your child create a pattern and ask them what they like best about the kabob they just made!

Apple Wraps: Place a glob of peanut butter in a small bowl. Give your child a paper plate, a tortilla and small chunks of apple or banana. Using a craft stick, have your child smear peanut butter on the tortilla. Then have them sprinkle the tortilla with the fruit. You can even have them sprinkle on a little cinnamon if you'd like. Roll the tortilla up and enjoy!

These are super simple recipes that almost all children will enjoy. There are many, many more hands on experiments you can do with food with even the youngest, pickiest eaters. Don't be afraid to step outside the (cereal) box and try. It's good for kids! They learn a few things like early math skills (measuring, patterning) and a little bit of independence. And they get to spend time with YOU!


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