My little one loves to help out around the house, but I sometimes struggle to find safe, mess-free, and truly helpful chores for a 4-year-old to handle—especially in the kitchen. One task we’ve had success with is smoothie making. My list of kitchen staple ingredients includes frozen berries—which are perfect for little hands to handle and are great to practice counting skills with. All the berry amounts are less than ten by design, because that’s just about as high as he can count with any accuracy. I throw in a banana and some ice to make it thick, but use water instead of milk so the smoothie is still thin enough to sip through a straw. My preschooler likes to run out of the room at full speed when I start up the blender, to avoid the sound, but it’s all part of the fun, because I always find him laughing in the doorway the whole time waiting for it to be over. Our impromptu kitchen experiment makes just enough for two and turned out delicious. It’s one of the few recipes I have memorized and one of my all-time favorites, but I think more so for the memories than the taste.
1 cup (8 ounces) water
1 ripe (or overripe) banana
6 frozen strawberries
10 frozen blueberries
5 frozen cranberries
3 ice cubes
8-ounce drinking cup
1. Combine all ingredients in blender.
2. Secure lid, then blend until smooth.
NOTES & TIPS
• Bananas are ripe when their aroma gets noticeably stronger and the peel develops brown spots. Bananas are very ripe when the spots increase enough to make the peel more brown than yellow. The banana inside is still good, even when the peel becomes entirely brown. The browner the peel, the sweeter the banana.
• The berries altogether weigh about 3 ounces (about 1/3 cup).
Less than 5 minutes