Art project turned lunch

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Bread Dough Faces

We made these bread dough faces the other day, using the "Easiest Bread Dough" recipe in MaryAnn Kohl's First Art.

Bread Dough Faces

Bread Dough Faces

I thought we'd make a variety of shapes, like last time, but Maia is on her faces kick and just wanted to make faces out of the dough. She started using tiny dough balls for the eyes, but switched to currants when I brought them out.

Bread Dough Faces

Although the first thing she did after they cooled off was eat all the currants off the faces! Next time, I think I'll try this with a whole wheat bread dough recipe for something healthier.

I want to start getting Maia more involved in making our snacks and meals — in the hopes that she'll be more interested in eating the results if she helps. Any ideas? Do your kids help you cook? Maia usually helps me with desserts, but not meals, and I'd like to change that.

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  1. says

    My kids help a lot in the kitchen. If I am doing something with a knife, I usually put them to work “washing” the dishes, which they love. It usually turns into a puddle on the floor but the floor usually needs washing anyway! I usually do the measuring but let them pour things in, which they also love. Things in the slow cooker are good and easy to do because it isn’t hot when they pour stuff in. Eleanor (who is three) love talking about “ingredients” and always wants to take more things out of the cupboard to add.

  2. Julie says

    I have my 17 month old daughter help me measure rice and water when I make rice. She also puts vegetables into the (cold) pots after I cut them.

  3. Gina says

    My kids, ages 3.5 and 1.5, each have their own stool at the end of the counter. They can see all the action and participate if I choose, but there’s plenty of counter-space they can’t reach so I can chop and use heat safely.
    They like dumping ingredients into pots and bowls, taking turns stirring (my oldest has learned to stir “until it’s all one color”), unwrapping things like butter and bouillon, delivering trash to the can and compost to the heap, rolling dough, sprinkling pizza toppings, buttering baking dishes… That’s all I can think of at the moment. They do both know they’re not allowed to touch raw meat until they are older and have learned “the rules of the kitchen” (never touch your face, clothes, the counter, etc. with raw meat on your hands!!!). They pretty much never leave the counter when I cook, which can be super, or exhausting :)

  4. says

    My daughter isn’t quite 2 and a half, but she loves helping in the kitchen. She especially likes stirring cake mixture and helping me to tip it into the baking tin. When her father is preparing our weekly roast dinner on a Saturday afternoon, she’ll sit on the floor with a large saucepan of water, washing the chopped vegetables for him, and taking the peelings and other rubbish to the recycling bag and bin respectively. I’m not sure that she is any more inclined to eat food that she’s helped to prepare, but involving her is a great way to keep her occupied while dinner is being made!

  5. poetsandsaints says

    My 3 yr. old daughter does help me in the kitchen, when she feels like it.
    Sometimes it is frustrating b/c I really want to get dinner made fast and working with a toddler is not fast. On the other hand, this is part of her preschool education (Montessori method suggests it!) so I try to give her tasks, like pour this in, stir it up.
    She does like to eat what she cooks too.

  6. says

    Some fun things to make with kiddos I think include: icing cupcakes, making pancakes, stirring up fruits salads, whipping up mash potatoes, and most of all PIZZA! They can help put the toppings on and make cute shapes and pictures! :)

  7. says

    I agree with what others have said. With my 2 1/2 yo I let her stir eggs in a bowl before scrambling, “help” spread peanut butter and jam and cut sandwiches. I let her tear lettuce for salads and spin the salad spinner. Also, you know those decorative spreaders you can buy for dip bowls? I let her use those to cut up soft items, like cheese or cucumbers. She calls them her “sharp knives”. She can stir and use a whisk when baking, and sometimes I let her use a measuring cup for sugar or flour. Otherwise I mostly let her watch or play in the sink.
    My son is 6 1/2 and I’ve started letting him have more responsibility. He can crack eggs, stir them in the pan, and make toast. I’ve started teaching him knife skills, and let him slice tomatoes and softer items like cheese and cooked meat. Of course we make pizzas sometimes, and both the kids help with those.
    We’ve been getting a produce box from a local CSA every week, and the kids get excited about what we get in it every week. They are more willing to eat their veggies this way.
    I’ve been letting the kids “help” since they were able to stand at the counter. They have a lot of knowledge about cooking and baking already. My son is actually starting to become truly helpful, so that is a wonderful reward. Plus, they both get excited about healthy, home-cooked food.
    Keep up the good work!

  8. says

    My little girl is 5 already (holy smokes!) and we’ve been integrating her more and more into the meal prep, serving, and grocery shopping. She’s big enough that she can keep her stool by the stove to watch and assist with stirring if I’m there to supervise. She loves it! She’s also in charge of grating all our cheese (using food processor) and “making” the salad for the week by dumping the greens into a tupperware and mixing in chopped veggies. She’s been doing this since about 2 yrs.
    When she was younger, I reorganized the pantry so that she could reach a lot of the staples we use in cooking, so she could help by getting out all of the ingredients and setting them up for me on the table. Then she’d help (often hand-over-hand assistance from me) with measuring, pouring, stirring, etc.
    As early as I can remember (that she’s had interest in helping cook) she has always worked with me on bread making days. I give her a small portion of the dough to knead, shape, and form all on her own, and bake it on a small cookie sheet . She loves this.
    When she was REALLY little I would give her scraps of some of the veggies I was preparing (broccoli stems, etc. in LARGE pieces to prevent choking if she would get adventurous and taste something) and she would “cook” on the floor with real food scraps and a bowl and wooden spoon. She LOVED this and it made her feel part of the process even if she couldn’t participate in the cutting/cooking prep.

  9. says

    I haven’t found that Esme (21 months) eats better when she helps make food – if anything it’s the opposite since she’s sampled along the way. i love having her be part of the process, tho. i’ve encouraged her to experiment – smell the spices, lemon, garlic – taste the lone ingredients like flour, sugar, salt, raw veggies – feel the oil, uncooked rice, etc – in the process, which takes lots of supervision. i love watcing her take initiatve and start ‘cooking’ on her own when she’s hungry – she gets the noodles veggies out or whatever she can reach.
    Anything with stirring is fun, as well as ‘art’ stuff – decorating cookies, pizza toppings, arranged salad plates, fruit on pancakes, etc

  10. says

    I never really loved cooking until I had children! Both of my kids love cooking/baking and I have been energized and excited in a way I never had been before kids. Yes, it is messier and sometimes takes longer but it is so much more fun now! Our favorite cook book is Pretend Soup. Seriously a wonderful cookbook because of the step by step illustrations. Here’s the link:
    Love Maya’s faces!

  11. says

    Hi Jean :) What fun! I was just reading and my sweeties walked up to see Maia’s picture. They asked about the project, and my little Mr S said, “Mommy! I like that! Can we make some bread faces right now?” Please tell your Miss M that she inspired us :) Love hugs, Q

  12. says

    My 3yr old loves to help in the kitchen and has been preparing his own snacks since he was 1.5. Now he uses an eating knife to cut soft things such as mushrooms and soft cheese, bananas etc. He also helps by washing the veg, measuring out ingredients and the such like. he is NOT allowed near the stove, I trust him when I am there but I don’t want him to think he can ‘help’ if I am say, in the bathroom and I have left something to cook. We do have a table-top Japanese hotplate so we cook together in that.
    I recommend getting this book
    it has some great recipes and not just cookies! It also has great tips like putting the measuring cup in a baking tray so if they make a mess there is minimum clean up – love that!
    Last year I did a postcard swap on my blog and on the back we had easy to prepare (for kids) recipes, I got lots of great new ideas. I will be doing it again this year, probably March.

  13. Kathie says

    My two boys are responsible for making the salad for dinner every night. We have stools so they can reach the counter. They usually have a cucumber appetizer in the process.

  14. says

    [...] Art project turned lunch From the blog The Artful Parent: The Intersection of Art and Parenting. An art project with the bloggers kids aimed at learning about faces quickly turns into a post-lunch treat. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Thanksgiving and creative gratitudeDear Black Informant (King Memorial controversy)Out of context?On being judgemental [...]

  15. tasha says

    Tristan is almost 3, and he has always been interested in what goes on in the kitchen. We cook alot. When he was a tiny baby, he was only content being worn in the sling, or held, and observing everything. Since 1.5, he has been helping with everything in the kitchen. He sorts veggies, which has helped him learn to like them as he has gone through fazes of not liking them. He loves stirring everything. Loves compiling and stacking things into sandwiches. Loves putting veggies into the pan to sautee. Loves getting his hands into the bowl for hand mixing meatballs. He loves adding herbs and salt and pepper. Loves smelling the different aromas. To say the least, he is entirely at home in the kitchen! He has never been a child to be amused or interested in things if mama or daddy were not doing them, and he’s always been more interested in the day-to-day things we do.