Brooks LOVES to help me in the kitchen. Yes, he’s super focused on in the end result (AKA cupcakes) when we are baking, but I have to say it is amazing the amount of learning potential and how engaged he is with the entire culinary process. I’ve often said that you have to make learning fun, especially for toddlers. The kitchen is the perfect venue for making fun learning happen. This not only rings true with your littles, but cooking with kids of any age group is a great way to learn, connect as a family, enforce healthy eating habits, and teach fundamental life skills. I have so many amazing memories of watching and learning how to cook from my parents and grandparents. On Thanksgiving last year, I shared one of my favorite family recipes, my grandmother’s chocolate cake and Brooks was front and center helping me make that recipe, too!!
To be honest, I initially had no intention of including Brooks in this project. I was working on St. Patty’s Day ideas for the blog and when Brooks saw me in the kitchen and immediately wanted to help. How could I resist this ridiculously cute face?!? Once we got started, I was instantly reminded what a great learning tool cooking together can be.
Today’s recipe is a St. Patty’s Day inspired rainbow fruit plate. This particular recipe is perfect for toddlers. You are working on counting, color, and fruit recognition along with fine motor skills. Who knew making a fruit plate could be so educational?? There are tons of variations of this recipe so I made a Pinterest board of my favorite variations. For our rainbow, I chose fruits that Brooks loves and I used Greek yogurt as my cloud topped with a bit of honey. I purposely didn’t choose to use any candy or Brooks’ personal favorite, marshmallows, as part of our rainbow building materials because I knew the fruit would have been sadly ignored.
My strong suggestion is to prep/chop all your fruit ahead of time, but like lots of busy #Supermommas, we don’t always get the luxury of getting all of our ducks in a row before we are infiltrated by our toddler helpers! This was definitely the case for me with this project. I found myself keeping Brooks busy while I did my food prep by talking about the colors of the rainbow, the colors of fruit, and the steps of our project. I also showed Brooks a few images of fruit rainbows so he would have a clear idea of what we were making.
Once you get all of your fruit chopped and placed in piles, give your sous chef the goods so they can begin to assemble your fruit rainbow.
I put the fruit on the cutting board next to Brooks and he would place on the plate. We would discuss each type of fruit, its name, and color. We may have also sampled a few pieces of the rainbow along the way, too! My little dude was a rainbow making machine! He was totally engaged and helped me for nearly an hour. For those of you experienced in toddler land, you know that is quite the accomplishment.
I know I am biased, but I think our fruit rainbow turned out awesome AND delicious. Brooks was so proud of his handiwork. We had two of his friends over for dinner and he was over the moon to share with everybody the dessert he made himself!
Actress, model, active humanitarian, & Mom! Author of 'Everyday Chic'.