How can I keep my toddler busy while I cook for 24?

Toddlers love to help, so a fun way to keep your child busy while you cook is to have him/her help you in the kitchen. You can do this by having your child help you with the actual preparation of the food (e.g., adding premeasured ingredients or helping you stir with a spoon), or by giving your child play dishes and getting him/her to “cook” along with you. Try giving your toddler a toy broom so he/she can help you “clean” the floor or put some fun magnets on the fridge so he/she can safely play in the kitchen. Another fun idea that allows your child to contribute to the holiday meal is to provide your toddler with simple art materials to create decorations or centerpieces for the Thanksgiving dinner table.

Jennie Ito, Ph.D.

Child Development Expert

Jennie Ito is a mother of two and a child development consultant who specializes in children’s play and toys. Before becoming a consultant for LeapFrog, she was an intern at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, and later worked as a content expert for the Association of Children’s Museum’s “Playing for Keeps” Play Initiative. Jennie earned her doctorate degree in developmental psychology at Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada.