On cooking with toddlers – a learning opportunity

Homemade mango ice cream

Homemade mango ice cream

Our boy has taken to watching what we do when we cook. He is fascinated by the variety of cooking implements that lay on the kitchen counters, and enjoys pulling out as many wooden spoons, spatulas, and whisks as he can. He loves watching things get tossed into the mixer and throws a fit if he isn’t hefted high (and safely away) above the stove to watch pots and pans bubbling away under the bright cooking light.

My wife takes a few moments every time she makes muffins or smoothies to go over the ingredients with our toddler. He now merrily spouts out the correct names when he sees flour pots and sugar jars brought out. He even counts off eggs, though the numbering system gets a little murky after three, it’s still amazing to watch.

We had some leftover table cream to use up before it went bad, so my wife looked at our boy. “Do you want a mango smoothy?” she asked.

The wild babbling and bouncing that ensued could only be interpreted in the affirmative. He tugged on the freezer door with all of his might and reached inside to haul out a bag of frozen mango bits that had not seen the light of day in quite some time.

In went the table cream, the frozen mango bits, and a little sugar into the food processor. A quick spin turned the mix into a wonderfully unctuous mango ice cream, which surprised me since there was no need for a long churn. Bam! World class ice cream in a blink.

The result was a wonderful dessert that produced smiles all around and highlighted the amount of information children pick up from an early age.

A little positive reinforcement doesn’t hurt, either!


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