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.
Here are a couple of great recipes which use granola as a component.
Recipe: Almond Cranberry Granola
Healthy to eat and simple to prepare, try this easy granola recipe.
- 3 cups rolled oats
- ½ cup wheat germ
- ½ cup flax seeds
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 cup slivered almonds
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup honey
- 2 tablespoons water
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
- Combine oats, wheat germ, flax seeds, cinnamon, almonds, and cranberries in a large bowl.
- In a separate bowl combine vegetable oil, brown sugar, honey, and water.
- Add the honey mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until all the oats are evenly coated. Transfer wet granola evenly on to two large cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.
- Cook for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
- Remove from oven and allow granola to completely cool before serving. Don’t worry if the granola doesn’t seem completely crunchy after coming out of the oven. It will crisp up once completely cooled.