Two year olds make great sous chefs. Full of energy and enthusiasm, these preschool aged cooks love being asked to help in the kitchen. Their eyes light up with every opportunity. On the other hand parents sometimes hesitate to include their children in assisting them because of the additional time and mess, which is a reality of cooking with young kids.
What if we as parents changed our perspective to include kids in the kitchen to be on par with doing a family activity, like playing a game or doing an art and crafts project? My grade school daughters, Abbi and Mimi, love to cook in the kitchen. In fact, they can prepare many recipes on their own without any help from me. But my two year old son, Eli, is still developing his vocabulary and wants to be able to do the same things as his big sisters. He seems to like it when I find age appropriate opportunities for him to help in the kitchen.
This week Eli and I made granola. I pre-measured all the ingredients ahead of time. I told him very clearly what each ingredient was and waited for him to repeat it. This way he was not only learning how to familiarize himself with simple cooking skills, he’s also learning new words. We also took turns stirring the granola. I told him, “you get two turns, I get two turns.” I did this so he understood my expectations ahead of time to avoid potential power struggles and to practice sharing skills.
Our time together was really special. Even though there were oats scattered around the table, watching Eli so focused on each skill was a joy. Afterward we shared a bowl of granola with milk as our reward. I know he doesn’t quite understand cooking conceptually yet. But I believe he will grow his appreciation for cooking good wholesome meals someday and I will have the satisfaction knowing I helped him in this journey.
What I have for you today is a basic recipe for granola. I love it because it is so healthy for you and so simple to prepare. Feel free to swap in and out other ingredients as you please.
Here are a couple of great recipes which use granola as a component.
Working Mother Magazine Food Editor and publisher of In Jennie’s Kitchen, Jennifer Perillo, shares her satisfying Granola + Berry Smoothie perfect for a quick satisfying breakfast the whole family will love.
Who doesn’t love parfaits? Check out this recipe for Cottage Cheese & Yogurt Parfait with Granola from Simple Bites by Cheri Neufeld for a delicious protein packed breakfast on the go.
What is your favorite granola combination? Share your thoughts in the comment section below. I’m always on the hunt for new flavors.