A few years ago, Annabel Woolmer wrote a wonderful book called “Tickle Fingers Cookbook” and I was fortunate enough to receive a copy. I wrote about my experiences with Luke’s fussy eating and noted how using the recipes and tips from the book had helped Luke on his journey towards trying new food.
Fast forward to the present day and Annabel has recently released book number two: The Tickle Fingers Toddler Cookbook. A hands on cookbook targeted towards children aged between one and four.
I just couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy and share my thoughts!
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The Tickle Fingers Toddler Cookbook is designed to encourage parents and children to get into the kitchen and cook together. Rather than being a book for adults, listing recipes that you could cook for children, the Tickle Fingers book features creative and exciting meals, snacks and treats that have been especially produced for children to make with minimal interruption from adults.
To ensure things are as hands on as possible for the children, the recipes may require some preparation work from the adults, so as to avoid hobs and sharp knives. The recipes also avoid ingredients such as raw meats. With over 60 recipes to choose from, all promoting actions that children adore doing – think mixing, squelching, pouring and sorting – it’s guaranteed to get the creative juices flowing.
Whether your child is an experienced chef or a complete newbie, The Tickle Fingers Toddler Cookbook has you covered. The handy sections: Easy Peasy, Budding Cook and Confident Chef are all beautifully laid out with clear step-by-step instructions and beautiful images, ensuring your cooking experience goes as smoothly as possible.
Each recipe mentions the normal “adult” information – serving sizes, preparation and cooking time. Moreover, because of the book’s aim to get adults cooking with their children, each recipe also lists vital skills that are being developed and improved upon while preparing the current recipe, as well as schemas (more on that later).
Possibly one of the most useful things I have ever seen in a cookbook, especially one aimed towards parents cooking with their children, is the Tickle Fingers Toddler Cookbook’s allergy chart. Towards the back of the book, you will find a chart that lists the recipes in the book and information about whether they contain egg, dairy, gluten or nuts. There’s a colour coded system the indicates whether the recipe is safe, whether it’s safe with substitutions, or whether the recipe should be avoided all together.
Allergy information is also mentioned on each recipe page and there are substitute suggestions instead. For example, the use of gluten free flour.
Before the recipes get listed, Annabel writes a lot of helpful tips to help ease children into the kitchen and help things to run as smoothly as possible. She also talks about schemas.
She explains that
“Schemas are the ways in which children play. The idea is that, if you can identify how they like to play, you can tailor the way you present learning activities, including cooking, to help them get the most from them.”
Each recipe lists the schemas involved in the creation process, which enables both parents and even early years foundation stage practitioner’s to get the most of the recipes.
Each recipe also talks about the main tasks and skills children will be using throughout the process, such as mixing, spooning, chopping and tearing. These are not only the fun bits, but they’re also great skill building activities that help with our children’s development.
The Tickle Fingers Cookbook is the perfect book for encouraging children to get into the kitchen with you and start cooking. Whether you’re wanting to introduce your child to new foods, curb fussy eating habits or introduce independence, Tickle Fingers has great tips throughout to help children have the most fun and gain the best skills possible.
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