Pram Jam with Beth – Babies in the Kitchen

Do your kids (and pets) just love to hang out with you in the kitchen? Mine do! They’re part adorable, part infuriating; always underfoot and always starving…

But I am a big fan of encouraging them (the kids that is, not the pets!) to be confident and capable in the kitchen, and I’m being rewarded now with some budding pre-teen chefs and a preschooler with a very varied palate.

There are so many benefits to having your children with you in the kitchen from a very young age, I would so often have a baby on my hip in a ring sling and be stirring dinner or baking one handed. While safety risks should not be ignored, babies very quickly learn ‘sharp’ or ‘hot’ and revel in participating in real and imaginary food prep.

Some of my kids’ favourite kitchen activities include making jelly (choosing colours and moulds can be at times contentious!), MYO pizza or tacos, any kind of baking and helping to peel potatoes (I hate this job, I actually pay 10c a potato… I wonder if that contributes to the popularity of mashed potato at our place!).

Small child breaking an egg into a bowl which is being held by an adult hand.

Our little ones do so love to copy what we do! Why not put some of that practise into practice in the real kitchen though?

Picture credit:  Image by Schlomaster from Pixabay, used under creative commons license.

As I’ve discussed before, so much about cooking is STEAM focussed and it’s all literacy building, with so many rhymes and books linking back to food and cooking, so I thought that today’s blog could be all about cooking with our babies, toddlers and bigger kids.

Yummy books at Cockburn Libraries

Pancakes, pancakes! / Eric Carle.

Jack wakes up one day and decides that he wants pancakes for breakfast, but his Mum is busy so he offers to help to get everything ready. By cutting and grinding the wheat for flour, collecting the egg, and milking the cow, Jack starts from scratch to help make his breakfast pancake. This is a lovely step by step book to help children to understand that food doesn’t just come from the supermarket.

Cover image for : Pancakes, pancakes! / Eric Carle.
Cover Image for: Pat-a-cake Baby / written by Joyce Dunbar ; illustrated by Polly Dunbar.

Pat-a-cake Baby / written by Joyce Dunbar ; illustrated by Polly Dunbar.

This fun rhyming, miming book is a great choice for storytime, or bedtime, or just about any time! There’s not much healthy content, so perhaps a good option for talking about sometimes foods and everyday foods. Joyce Dunbar and Polly Dunbar are mother and daughter, which I just love! I bet that cooking at their place is an awful lot of fun. Polly’s body of work in particular I find very enjoyable.

My grandma’s kitchen / Louise Fulton Keats ; recipes by Margaret Fulton ; illustrations by Michelle Mackintosh. 

I couldn’t go past this book when I was choosing for this blog. It really captures a message that I wanted to convey, about the importance of food in our personal cultures and family ‘stories’. Written by Louise Fulton Keats and giving thanks to her grandmother, Margaret Fulton, ‘LuLu’ can be vividly imagined in the kitchen with her little brother creating magical meals. My own boys adore the family bonding that comes from cooking, and creating magical memories like our ‘Great Cake Off’ competition and rainbow jelly birthday cakes – these are the experiences that I hope that they will remember when they have their own children!

Cover Image for: My grandma's kitchen / Louise Fulton Keats ; recipes by Margaret Fulton ; illustrations by Michelle Mackintosh.
Cover Image for Cook it! / illustrated by Georgie Birkett.

Cook it! / illustrated by Georgie Birkett.

These Helping Hands books are all gorgeous, but this little one making pizza with her dad, to feed the whole family, is really my favourite. Everything is covered from grocery shopping, to hand washing, and cleaning up after – yes, little ones, it’s fun to help with every step!

Awesome edible kids crafts : 75 super-fun all-natural projects for kids to make and eat  / Arena Blake.

You can make your craft and EAT IT TOO??!! This is totally my kind of book. I am a wanna-be crafter, and a decent but unmotivated cook. This is the perfect book for any crafty, cook crazy kids. It also has some fun ideas for party treats, if your little one has a birthday party coming up.

Cover Image for Awesome edible kids crafts : 75 super-fun all-natural projects for kids to make and eat / Arena Blake.
Cover Image for The Nursery Rhyme Cookbook / edited by Alana House.

The nursery rhyme cookbook / editor: Alana House.

This book actually inspired my blog post on this topic; my mum found a copy in an opshop and I had to have copies ordered for the libraries as well. I have never come across such a well put together rhyme/cooking combo, I really encourage you to check it out for yourselves – I am certain that your kids will love it, and so many of the Pram Jam /Storytime rhymes are included with gorgeous recipes to match.

There are so many food and cooking songs!

Jelly in the bowl rhyme pagePat a cake rhyme page

5 fat sausages rhyme page


These rhymes and the many other food based songs that we sing together are so helpful for our babies to develop their gross and fine motor skills! As your little one grows your can start to introduce hand clapping games (like Ms Mary Mack, or Down Down Baby! but perhaps start with simpler versions) which encourage your child’s cross body motor skills as well, which is a vital part of them learning to write.

I’m ending the blog post today with this gem from Roman and Ayla, the joy that little Roman gets from cooking is so evident in his expression – and how amazing does that cake look??