Baking with your child

It can be fun to make your own meals. To get your child interested in cooking, use recipes that are easy to make such as small fruit salads, sandwiches and biscuits. It's important to tell them about staying safe in the kitchen when baking and cooking food.

Heart shaped cookies for Valentine's Day

You and your child can follow the recipe to make heart shaped cookies for Valentine's Day.

What you need

  • 250g butter
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 300g plain flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt

What to do

  • put the butter, sugar egg and vanilla extract in a large bowl and beat together until well  mixed
  • sift in the flour and salt and mix and press together to make a dough
  • roll out the dough until it is about 5mm thick
  • cut out shapes using a heart shaped cookie cutter
  • place the heart shapes on a non-stick baking tray and bake for 12 to15 minutes at 180 degrees celsius

Fruit clown faces

“Help, help! Someone ate my nose!”

What you need

  • one small banana
  • red grapes
  • four big strawberries
  • one small orange
  • a large plate
  • a mirror

What to do

  • peel your orange and split it into segments
  • cut the strawberries in half so that there are eight pieces in all counting from one to eight as you halve each strawberry
  • peel the banana and cut it in half lengthways

Encourage your child to talk about what they see and what happens to the fruit when you cut them.

Time to start making your funny face.

With your toddler you can put two red grapes on a plate for the eyes.

Get your toddler to look in the mirror as you chat about their different features.

Now, put the biggest strawberry in the middle, for the clown’s red nose. The banana is for the smiley mouth. (You could even put it on upside down if your clown is sad and get your child to look in the mirror to make happy and sad features, observing their own different expressions).

The remaining strawberries will make great, bright red hair for your clown, dotted around the top of the plate. Finally, you can finish making your face by putting a segment of orange over each eye, to make eyebrows.

Along with your toddler, name each part of the face. Then it’s time for a snack. Your child will love your praise and encouragement as they discover new things.

Sailboat sandwiches

Ahoy there!

What you need

  • wholemeal pitta bread
  • grated cheese
  • one small tomato, sliced
  • one breadstick
  • sliced cucumber
  • a slice of cooked ham
  • grated carrot
  • hummus (optional)

What to do

Cut your pitta bread in half lengthways to make a boat shape and toast it. Stuff the pitta with the grated cheese and the sliced tomatoes.

Put the pitta on a plate and put a breadstick in the middle of it. Then ask your toddler to put a triangle of ham on each side of the breadstick to make the sails.

To make the choppy sea, take a handful of grated carrot and put it around the bottom of the boat.

For a finishing touch, put some slices of cucumber on top of the pitta boat for portholes. Blobs of hummus can be used to form clouds.

Lunch is served.

Rock cakes

“Are you ready to rock?”

What you need

  • a set of scales to weigh out the ingredients and talk about the numbers on the scales, how they balance or the numbers change as the weight increases
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 110g butter or margarine
  • 55g sugar
  • 100g raisins
  • two eggs

What to do

Set the oven to 200 degrees (gas mark 6). While it’s heating, you can put the flour and butter into a large bowl.

With your toddler, rub the mixture together between your fingers, until it feels like bread-crumbs. Then you can both mix in the sugar and the raisins.

Using a fork, beat the eggs together in a separate bowl, then stir them into the mixture. Count out the two eggs and encourage your child to talk about what they see as you break and beat the eggs. After that, it’s a fun game to shape the mixture into small balls with your hands.

Nearly ready! You can put the balls onto a greased baking tray and bake for 15 minutes. Make sure they’re cool before you touch them. Talk to your child about the hot oven and the need to wear oven gloves.

Bagel pizzas

Do you want a whole pizza or a half?

What you need

  • a bagel (halved)
  • tomato puree
  • dried mixed herbs
  • grated cheese

For the toppings, try any combination of:

  • ham
  • tuna
  • pineapple
  • sweetcorn
  • chopped sausages
  • peppers
  • mushrooms
  • cooked chicken
  • olives
  • broccoli florets
  • sliced tomatoes

Encourage your child to handle and taste new foods. If your child has a sweet tooth, a handful of raisins on top might make it go down a treat!

What to do

Set the oven to 200 degrees (gas mark 6).

While you’re waiting for it to heat up, split the bagel in half and spread tomato puree and a pinch of mixed herbs over the bagel.

Ask your toddler to help with sprinkling the cheese and putting the toppings on. The more the merrier!

Bake it in the oven for five to 10 minutes until the cheese is bubbling. You need to be very careful with the hot oven and help your child understand safety around an oven.

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