The purpose of this blog is to journal my attempt at Rediscovering Yesterday. Learning from my grandma’s sweet, simple life, and finding ways to incorporate those simple values into our modern, busy, often overwhelming today. While I don’t know exactly what life was like in rural Kansas in the 1930’s, I can imagine. And I can imagine that every member of the family had a role to play- even the little ones.
My Grandpa is fond of reminding us how his mother would send him out to hunt with three bullets. She would say, “You had better come back with three squirrels or three bullets!”
In a harsher, self-sustaining world I doubt there was a focus on teaching ABC’s or doing developmentally appropriate child-centered activities. Rather, I imagine two-years olds witnessed and participated in a lot of the everyday household chores. Maybe they didn’t get involved right away, but over time the sitting in the kitchen watching mom knead bread or wash the dishes or scrub the floor turned into what my little girl has started doing- “Mommy… I help?”
How early was your grandmother shucking corn and milking the cow? When did your grandpa first get his BB gun and start contributing to dinner?
I’m probably not going to give my toddler a .22 rifle anytime soon, but I don’t know any better start to training up a child to serve and give and create than inviting her into the kitchen.
Keep in mind, our definition of “amazing” is very different than a two-year-old’s definition of “amazing.” Also keep in mind, when you have a child in the kitchen there are many dangers. What good training for you to be attentive and involved with your little sous chef!
That said, I promise you, these are things your child is very capable of doing. We have done them all! (My little Pickle is now 2 1/2) You will need to start out assisting & instructing a lot, but over time, they will be able to do more and more by themselves. My little girl even knows to scrape the top of the baking soda spoon on that little flap on the box!
So read through the list. Grab your toddler. And start making some memories!
1. “Washing” dishes
2. Measuring and pouring ingredients into a bowl
3. Stirring ingredients
4. Handing you spices (utensils, ingredients, etc)
5. Getting out the bread (toaster, bowls, silverware, etc)
6. Setting the table
7. Cutting peppers or other soft items with a butter knife
8. Pouring pasta into a pot
9. Kneading bread
11. Cutting out cookies
12. Wiping the counter/table
13. Drying the dishes
14. Loading/Unloading the dishwasher
15. Putting coffee grounds in the coffee pot
16. Starting the coffee maker
17. Loading and starting the toaster
18. Putting things away- in the refrigerator, cupboards or trash can
19. Spreading peanut butter on bread (or any other spreading job)
20. Sifting flour
22. Flipping pancakes (yeah… that’s right)
23. Taking dirty dishes to the kitchen/sink
24. Getting a glass of water
25. Cracking eggs
BONUS: Licking the Spatula!
If you can think of more wonderful, amazing, exciting, helpful things that a toddler can do in the kitchen with you, please share!
Check out the other posts in this series: