Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Cooking With Baby

It was late Sunday afternoon when our groceries were delivered. Baby L. was still awake, and normally I would have just waited for her next nap before putting away the groceries. But this time I had a brainstorm. I dragged L.'s swing to the edge of our kitchen where she could watch me put the groceries away. As I pulled the items out of the delivery boxes I talked about them and described what I was doing. Someone walking past the door to of our apartment would have heard, in a sing-songy, baby friendly voice:

"Ooooooh! Here are the yellow bananas! Yum yum! Bananas! Where do the bananas go? Over here, next to the bread box... Now what do we have? Ooooooh! Butter!"

Call me crazy, but the teacher in me was really happy with all the vocabulary I was sharing with my little girl. I was tucking in food names and kitchen words like "bread box" and "refrigerator," not to mention words like "in," "under," "next to." Every early childhood teacher knows how important all those words are.

L. loved looking at all the cool stuff coming out of the boxes, and stared at the doors of the cupboards opening to reveal what was inside and the shiny refrigerator door swinging open. She was totally entertained - and I was getting stuff done!

I started to get really into it. After the groceries were put away, L. was still happy, so I decided to try for the dishes too. Same thing:

"Yay! Here's the coffee cup I used this morning. It's empty now! I'm putting it into the dishwasher, right next to the cheese grater!"

When the dishes were done, I thought, hey, why not try to cook dinner? L.'s swing was on the side of the kitchen opposite the stove, so I didn't have to worry about any dangerous hot stuff getting near her, and she was very content to keep watching.

So I did a little cooking show for my daughter. I cooked macaroni and cheese, walking Baby L. through each step, bit by bit. I held up each of the ingredients to tell her all about them. I jingled the measuring spoons. I held the milk up close while I poured it from the container to the measuring cup. I even got to use MATH when I talked about measuring!

"Look Baby! Two and one-thirds cups of milk! Not the skim milk either. Whole milk-- yum yum! I'm putting it in the pot now!"

I know she's just a baby. But I also know that research has shown that talking to your baby helps build language and vocabulary. The more you talk to your child, the more words she learns. When L. is older she's probably going to roll her eyes at me and run the other direction. But for now, she's my captive audience while I feed her language and vocabulary!

Bon appetit!


  1. I think you should take this show on the road! My nephew loves to cook eggs in the morning- We are still working on the "cracking". :)

  2. I love this suggestion! What a great way to teach, entertain and get things done with baby.

    Thanks for putting a smile on my face.