Cooking with a Toddler: Banana Bread

I recently came across a Banana bread recipe on the blog small people big ideas. It didn’t have any dairy and seemed simple enough so we tried it. We made two changes to our recipe. We used half the sugar (and it still felt too much for us) and used canola oil instead of butter to grease our pan. He is now 14 months old and it was interesting to observe how much he has grown since we started cooking together. You can see one of our earlier experiences here.

Baking Banana Bread

When baking with a young toddler, it is so important to prepare and make sure everything is available and organized before you start. The child at this stage needs order.

This is how he kept himself busy while I organized the ingredients. I looked the first time and he had pulled out and was playing with the cups. The next time I looked, he had packed up everything and moved on to the pot and lid which he got from the cupboard. You can see the green cup that he carried over. I love how he cleans up after himself more and more these days.
This is how he kept himself busy while I organized the ingredients. I looked the first time and he had pulled out and was playing with the cups. After a while I looked again, and he had packed up everything and moved on to the pot and lid which he got from the cupboard. You can see the green cup that he carried over. I love how he is able to find activities by himself and clean up after himself. The benefits of order and the prepared environment

We always start by putting on aprons and washing our hands. Then I tell him what we are going to make and point out the ingredients

Utensils and ingredients set up and ready to be used. Notice most of the containers are glass. Young children are capable of being careful when given the opportunity. I have noticed that my son is very aware and very careful when handling glass. They are also the right sizes for his little hands.
Utensils and ingredients set up and ready to be used. Notice most of the containers are glass. Young children are capable of being careful when given the opportunity. I have noticed that when given the opportunity very early in life, young children are very aware and very careful when handling glass. The containers are also the right sizes for his little hands.

I’ll list the ingredients as we go along or you can visit the original post.

Peel the bananas and put them in the first mixing bowl. I love how much focus this requires from my 14 month old. He is refining his fine motor skills and using both of his hands to work towards a common goal, even though they are doing different things. He considered tasting the banana but resisted the urge.
Peel the bananas and put them in the first mixing bowl. I love how much focus this requires from my 14 month old. He is refining his fine motor skills and even though they are doing different things, both of his hands are working towards a common goal.
He considered tasting the banana but resisted the urge. It’s normal ok for them to taste the ingredients.
Mash the bananas. I let him start and then I help and then let him finish.
Mash the bananas. I let him start and then I help and then let him finish. He switches hands several times. I’m still trying to figure out the dominant hand

At this point, we put aside the bowl with the bananas and got a new bowl. This will be used to mix the dry ingredients.

We put aside the bowl with the bananas and get a new bowl. This will be used to mix the dry ingredients.  First we poured in the flour (1 2/3 cups). It is interesting to see how far along he has come from this post. I had to help him then but this time he did all of the pouring most of the mixing independently. I also love how controlled his movements are. You can almost see the mathematical mind at work as he centers the bowl and pours carefully. Another thing I noted was that he didn't mind the flour on his hands. This is new. He used to hate it.
First we poured in the flour (1 2/3 cups). It is interesting to see how far along he has come from this post. I had to help him then but this time, he did all the pouring most of the mixing independently. I also love how controlled his movements are. You can almost see the mathematical mind at work as he centers the bowl and pours carefully.
Another thing I noted was that he didn’t mind the flour on his hands. This is new. He used to hate it.
Then we added the baking powder (2 teaspoons), baking soda (1/4 teaspoon) and salt (1/2 teaspoon) Each time he would pick the cup, look into it, pour and then look into it again to make sure it was empty. Another random observation was that he picked all the containers with two hands but always poured the smaller ones with one hand. The mathematical mind, self awareness etc.
Then we added the baking powder (2 teaspoons), baking soda (1/4 teaspoon) and salt (1/2 teaspoon)
Each time he would pick the cup, look into it, pour and then look into it again to make sure it was empty.
Another random observation was that he picked all the containers with two hands but always poured the smaller ones with one hand. The mathematical mind, self-awareness etc.

Mix the ingredients together and set the bowl of dry ingredients aside. For some reason the recipe did not say to pour the sugar into the dry ingredients. This disturbed my sense of order but since I’m not a baker, I did not want to risk doing something wrong.

Back to the bowl of bananas which we will use for wet ingredients

Pour in the vegetable oil (1/3 cup)- We used Canola oil.
Pour in the vegetable oil (1/3 cup)- We used Canola oil.
Pour in the eggs (2). Someone had scooped some flour into the eggs but it did not matter
Pour in the eggs (2).
Someone had scooped some flour into the eggs but it did not matter. He always poured out of these bowls using two hands.
Pour in the sugar (we used 1/3 cups but will used 1/4 next time. The recipe said 2/3 cups)
Pour in the sugar (we used 1/3 cups but will used 1/4 next time. The recipe said 2/3 cups)

We should have added the vanilla extract (1.5 teaspoons) at this point

Mix!
Mix!
Now its time to add the dry ingredients to the wet ones.  He scooped it and then when there was too little left to scoop, he poured. The bowl must have been a little damp when we started  because some of the flour would not come off. He kept trying to pour it out so I showed him how to scrape it with his hands.
Now its time to add the dry ingredients to the wet ones.
He scooped it and then when there was too little left to scoop, he poured. The bowl must have been a little damp when we started because some of the flour would not come off. He kept trying to pour it out so I showed him how to scrape it with his hands.
At this point we did a check to make sure we had used everything and realized we forgot to add the vanilla extract (1.5 teaspoons) so we did.
At this point we did a check to make sure we had used everything and realized we forgot to add the vanilla extract (1.5 teaspoons) so we did.
Mix it very well and then pour into your greased pan. I had to show him how to brush the oil on the pan so no pictures of that step. He tried to scoop it into the pan using the spoon and then we poured it together.
Mix it very well and then pour into your greased pan. I had to show him how to brush the oil on the pan so no pictures of that step. He tried to scoop it into the pan using the spoon and then we poured it together.
He seemed to realize we were done because he immediately took off his apron. I put it in the oven for 40 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius.
He seemed to realize we were done because he immediately took off his apron.
I put it in the oven for 40 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius. I checked it with a tooth pick (should come out dry) and brought it out. It was hot so he watched from far. I wonder if he made the connection that it was the banana bread he prepared. Children are about the process and not necessarily the product
He loved this product though! We were supposed to wait for it to cool down but we did not. He shared with me, daddy, grandma and a friend. We all loved it and will be making another one as soon as our bananas are ripe enough
He loved this product though! We were supposed to wait for it to cool down but we did not. He shared with me, daddy, grandma and a friend. We all loved it and will be making another one as soon as our bananas are ripe enough!

 

I cannot emphasize how good cooking/baking and practical life activities are for children. Even children who struggle with staying still enjoy these activities because they involve a lot of movement. How awesome to know everything that went into your snack. I hope you’ll try this recipe and share any dairy free recipes you have with me.

Live a Good Life!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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6 thoughts on “Cooking with a Toddler: Banana Bread

  1. I love this! Thanks so much for linking back to my post, and well done making such a lovely looking banana bread! I totally agree with the tweaks, and it is a hardy recipe so it seems to be able to deal with a little adaptation! Hope to hear from you again soon x PS You can now sign up for email updates on http://www.smallpeoplebigideas.com if you want 🙂

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