Preschoolers in the kitchen! Yes! There are a lot of little tasks that can keep a preschooler happy in the kitchen, and sometimes we just have to think about what those tasks might be. This was all new to me; I don't recall helping in the kitchen when I was very little, and I was the baby of the family so I didn't get to see my mom helping with anyone younger than I was. I've had to forge my way a bit and really pay attention to what my two's, three's, and four's can do.
Other tasks preschoolers can undertake in the kitchen:
- cracking eggs into a bowl (scoop out any errant shells)
- smashing bananas for banana bread (use a pastry cutter for ease)
- tearing lettuce for salad (teach them what a bite-sized piece looks like)
- sprinkling shredded cheese onto something
- stirring pretty much anything
And my favorite recipe to let little ones help with is classic layer bars because they can crush the graham crackers (or push the button on the food processor) and then sprinkle all the goodies on top!
Classic Layer Bars
Adapted from Cooks' Country
1 cup toffee bits (such as Heath or Skor bars)
12 whole graham crackers
1 stick butter, melted
8 ounces milk chocolate, chopped course (I use chips)
1 cup Rice Krispies
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup toasted coconut (spread it on a pan and toast at 350° for 5 minutes)
2 14-oz. cans sweetened condensed milk
1 T vanilla
- 1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 13 by 9-inch baking pan with foil, allowing excess to overhang pan edges. Coat foil with cooking spray. Process toffee bits in food processor to fine powder. Add graham crackers and process to fine crumbs. Transfer mixture to bowl and stir in butter. Press mixture firmly into prepared baking pan. Bake until beginning to brown, about 10 minutes.
- 2. Remove pan from oven, sprinkle crust with milk chocolate, and allow chocolate to soften, about 2 minutes. Using spatula, smooth chocolate into even layer. Scatter Rice Krispies over chocolate, pressing to adhere. Add layers of chocolate chips and coconut, in that order, pressing each layer to adhere. Combine condensed milk and vanilla in small bowl and pour over coconut.
- 3. Bake until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool on wire rack, about 2 hours. Using foil overhang, lift from pan and cut into 45 squares. (The bars can be stored in airtight container for up to 3 days.)
Day One of Ten Days of Delighting in Your Preschooler starts here.
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