Toddlers love to help in the kitchen. And with these seven toddler-friendly desserts, you can team up with minimal stress and mess for you. While you can always find new ways to get creative, the steps below are simple enough that your toddler will easily memorize the process. Soon, he'll want the kitchen all to himself!
Collect a colorful array of disposable plastic spoons and melt your favorite chocolate baking chips in a microwave-safe bowl. Have your toddler dip the heads of the spoons in the chocolate then douse with tasty toppings, from almond slices to peanut butter chips. Refrigerate to set.
A boxed bread and muffin mix (banana with chocolate chips is usually a hit) comes with multiple tasks fit for toddlers, from lining mini-muffin pans to adding the small number of ingredients to the mixing bowl. Your toddler will find this job even more appealing if you let him top the muffin batter with a splash of colorful sprinkles.
Most box brownie mixes typically call for three additional ingredients (eggs, water and oil) all of which are easy for your child to pour into the mixing bowl after measuring. For extra fun, ask your toddler which secret ingredient they want to add, like marshmallows, crushed cookies, fudge or caramel syrup.
A bagged sugar cookie mix makes a small batter so the project wraps up just about the time your toddler tires of it. For cut-outs, give your toddler the rolling pin and cookie cutters to make shapes or letters. For a unique sensory experience, show your child how to roll small balls of dough to toss in a bowl of sprinkles. They will bake up as small, fluffy, colorful cookies.
Chocolate-Covered Pretzels and Strawberries
If you're game for a slightly messier, finger-licking experiment, dipping pretzels and strawberries in chocolate is a great way to keep your toddler busy (and teach them that dessert can include fruit). They will be proud to largely manage the task themselves while you're tending to your own kitchen jobs nearby. Add sprinkles or shredded coconut for extra fun flavor.
If you have the time and your toddler has the attention span, mini macaroons are a delicious way to celebrate dessert any day of the week. While the Betty Crocker recipe calls them Cupcake Poppers, these tiny whoopie-pie-like treats are just the right size for your little one's fingers. They can practice hand-eye coordination by spreading on the filling. Pick a season-appropriate color to simplify the process.
OK, technically pasta is not a dessert. However, this rainbow pasta looks like dessert, and any recipe that involves food coloring gets an A+ from toddlers. (If you want to stay sweet, there are plenty of rainbow dessert options from which to choose.) If your little one is handy, invite him to apply the food coloring. Most of all, let your child squish the food coloring and pasta together in the baggie. Rinse well and eat hearty!