|Seasoning her creation|
I've found the best way to get things done in the kitchen lately, it is basically an advanced version of the coffee play I mentioned before. I am so tired and uncomfortable from pregnancy that any little thing that can help me entertain Echo without too much fuss is a life saver! She always wants to help me cook and wants to be involved in everything i do in the kitchen but she is too young to do much since she can't chop and is still not great about understanding that hot things will burn. I usually let her put seasonings in but she always wants to add way too much so that can be a problem too.
What I've been doing lately has been working really well though and I thought those of you with toddlers might want to try it. I set up a little station for her at the kitchen counter and put out a number of small bowls and plates. I pull up our Ikea stool so she can stand at counter height and then I fill the little bowls with dried lentils, flour, dried beans, loose tea and seasonings. Then I give her a spoon and let her go to town mixing and combining ingredients. I probably only use about a tablespoon of each so there really isn't that much wasted and while it does require some clean up after (lots of spilled materials end up on the floor) it is totally worth it!
She loves working alongside me and she takes it so seriously, it's pretty adorable! It will keep her occupied for as long as 45 minutes which is a life saver when I am trying to make dinner. She gets to feel included in the cooking process and has fun and I get to have her close by and entertained. It's a win win and so easy to set up. I'll be adding this to my file of easy, cheap and effective toddler activities!