I was chatting with another mom at gymnastics class the other night and something she said stuck with me, “I just try to find things to keep her busy.” I thought, “Aren’t kids the busiest people we know?” They have their entire adult lives to be “busy,” but now is a truly wonderful time to help them engage in what’s happening around them. Of all the activities I do with my kids cooking is the one activity that engages all five senses, their minds and even their bodies.

My kids can’t make a four course meal just yet, but they do make pizza, mix together cookie dough, layer in parfaits and make their own sandwiches. When they were infants I pulled their high chairs into the kitchen with me while I made dinner, handed them each a wooden spoon and talked them through my cooking steps. Eventually, they out grew the high chair and sat on the floor next to me stirring their imaginary creations in bowls. As soon as they were stable enough to stand on a chair to reach the counter (around age 2) we started making food together.

The first thing I taught my girls to make is a parfait. You simply layer in your favorite fruit, berries, yogurt and cereal. That’s it! All the ingredients are pre-made and require zero cooking! Kids of nearly any age can easily spoon the ingredients into a bowl or cup and feel accomplished when it is complete! The best part is you can control the contents- whether you use all organic ingredients, low sugar, or even gluten free ingredients.

Here is our favorite parfait recipe:

1 Banana (sliced)

1/2 cup of plain Greek Yogurt

1 TBSP peanut butter (optional)

1 Apple (diced)

1 cup granola or crisp rice cereal

Honey to drizzle

  1. Mix peanut butter into the Greek yogurt and drizzle with honey.
  2. Add bananas to the bottom of cup, or bowl.
  3. Top with 2 TBSP yogurt mixture.
  4. Layer on diced apple.
  5. Top with 2 TBSP cereal.

Repeat the layers twice to create one serving.  (You can also drizzle a little honey on the top most layers). Eat right away and enjoy!

Other easy things you can make with your kids today (that require zero cooking): peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, homemade trail mix, deli roll ups, pudding, even ice cream in a bag! Another one of our favorites, for another post! Cooking is not only a fun way to keep kids engaged, but it’s an important life skill every kid needs to have!


The Whatever Mom is a full-time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the BIG potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here.

Find more from Roxanne at Hudson Valley Parent and at Masshole Mommy