I spend a lot of time cooking, and I want my daughter to learn how to prepare healthy meals as well. We really started cooking together shortly after her first birthday, more our of necessity than my drive to teach her.
The lightbulb moment for me struck one afternoon as I was trying to make our lunch. She was clinging onto me legs, whining because my attention was elsewhere. To distract her, I dumped a banana and avocado in a plastic bag and gave it to her to smash together.
Not only was I able to finish making our lunch, but she actually did a really good job making her banana avocado spread! She has loved this mixture since she started eating solid foods.
From there, it evolved to making things like banana bread because she could smash the bananas while I did the rest of the work. But, my little one quickly wanted to be even more involved, so I found some recipes that would give her the opportunity to be more hands-on.
Here are our favorite Mommy and Me Recipes:
1. Banana Avocado Spread
- Resealable Bag
- Peel and break apart banana.
- Cut and scoop out avocado.
- Put banana and avocado in a bag.
- Show baby how to squish the bag. Supervise to ensure baby does not bite the bag.
- Serve alone, on toast, or with crackers for dipping.
2. Pineapple Cake
This is actually a Weight Watchers approved recipe. I like it for cooking with babies and toddlers because it does not have any eggs, so I don’t have to worry about my little one ingesting raw eggs. She can lick her fingers, the spoon, whatever!
- 1 Can Crushed Pineapple
- 1 Box Cake Mix (We like angel food or yellow cake mix.)
- Whipped Cream (Optional)
- Dump cake mix and crushed pineapple in a bowl (or resealable bag if that works better for you).
- Stir until combined.
- Spread into a greased cake pan, and bake according to cake mix instructions.
- Once cool, this cake tastes really good with whipped cream!
3. Pizza Dough in a Bag
I adapted Betty Crocker’s pizza dough recipe so that my little one could participate. We loved this activity because it kept my kiddo engaged and active and gave me a head start on dinner!
My little one really like squishing it and helping me add cups of flour. I let her help me knead the dough for a few minutes, but mostly she played with the flour and watched me do the kneading while we sang Patty Cake together.
Then, we put the dough out to rise. Usually I did this in the morning, so she could see how big the dough had risen when she woke up from her afternoon nap.
Overall, I really enjoyed cooking with my baby! I love sharing my joy of cooking and food and watching her experiment with different textures, flavors, and aromas. Together, we make a good team!
More Activities for 18-Month-Olds
- First Learning Busy Book (printable!). Based on toddler development and milestones, the busy book is a great for first learning binders or file folder games.
- No-Sew Felt Activities for toddler busy bags. My tot loves the popsicle (color matching) activity! It’s amazing what you can do with a few sheets of felt and a hot glue gun!
- Our family favorite oatmeal recipes. Everything from easy oatmeal banana “cookies” that your toddler can make to overnight oats and stir-in ideas.