During the pandemic, cooking and baking together has become a big deal in our house. Not only is it a way to attempt to get my picky eater to try something new, but it is also a fun activity for all of us!

That’s why I’m so excited that cookbook author, Amy Palanjian, the mom behind Yummy Toddler Food now has a new book, Food Play. Many of the recipes in the book can be made with help from your kids! Our parent company, The Local Moms Network spoke to Amy about her new book and why cooking with our kids is so important!

Why is cooking with kids so important?
Having kids in the kitchen can help them gain confidence around food in a situation that’s inherently much less stressful than a meal at the table. So those sensory experiences can lay a foundation for kids to become more comfortable touching and eating all sorts of foods down the road.

What are your favorite kitchen tools for preschoolers?
I love a 
crinkle cutter and potato masher to start with, then a set of kids knives. But really, you can do a lot with their hands or a sturdy wooden spoon!

Do you have a safety chair that you recommend?
I love any learning tower with a wide base and a back to help prevent accidental falls. (My go-to learning towers are here.)

Credit: Karla Conrad

How do you move past the “mess factor”?
1.) Know it’s normal. 2.) Save cooking with the kids for when you can focus and aren’t rushing. 3.) Limit activities to just part of a recipe if it saves your sanity. For example, you could bake cookies during naptime and then have the kids help frost them when they are up. You don’t have to do it all! (It is messy!)

Want more picky-eater tips from Amy? Click here

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