Words by Anh. Photos: Anh & Lili
My little girl Ayah is 2 years old, and she has started to show a lot of interests in food and cooking, something that I definitely encourage as I want her to develop a healthy relationship with food and appreciate it as she grows older. I have a lot of inspiration from Stephanie Alexander’s Kitchen Garden efforts, having visited the Collingwood site a few years back (before baby!). While I am still a new mum trying to navigate the world of bringing up my bub, I thought I will share some tips that have worked for me (and Lili too!).
Let kids explore food on their plates (and be patient!)
Ayah has always been a decent eater (vegs and all) but if I allow it, she can totally live on just milk and biscuits! I try to introduce her to a variety of food since she started solids, and let her explore food. It is ok not to like some of the things she tries, and she is allowed to create mess!
Go to markets, farms and introduce produces in raw forms
Weekly, we go to CERES for a music class and a play in the community farm. Sometimes, Lili and her kids will join us as well! CERES (or similar place such as Collingwood Children Farm) is fantastic for kids to get acquainted with farm animals. We also browse fruits and vegetables at the market. And when I receive my weekly organic fruit and veggie box, Ayah and I will go through that together and identify what is in the box. It's a fun game, teaching her to recognise raw fruits and vegetables and the brilliant natural colour palate.
Explore cooking in the kitchen
Recently my little girl has started to show interests in "cooking". She would stand on a "learning tower" stool and "help" me with tasks in the kitchen such as washing vegetables and occasionally stirring the pots. I have introduced her with the knife (using the normal non-sharp cutlery knife) to explain to her about safety etc.
Cooking with children is fun, but make sure to use age-appropriate recipes and tasks. For 2-year-old Ayah, I like to bake simple muffins (just mix and bake). She had great fun stirring eggs, mixing flour. Lili's children are older (6-11), so they can actually follow instructions and cook up our Hearty and Warm Feast with Lili's supervision! How awesome!
Do you have more tips to share? Let us know :)