MAKING BANANA + MILK DESSERT WITH A TODDLER

Summer is officially here! It’s been so hot lately that I’m starting to crave for iced desserts.

In the Philippines, HALO-HALO is a favorite for many Filipinos. It’s a mix of different textures and tastes put together with milk, ice, and if you’re lucky, ice cream and our beloved leche flan.

In our household though, I grew up with this simple banana and milk dessert. And since I was craving for it after lunch earlier, I decided to introduce it to my 16-month-old.

WHAT YOU NEED (AND SOME NOTES):

 

  • Bananas are so easy to slice so even the most blunt knives will do. This is why I feel it’s a great fruit to work with for very young children. For this dessert, we use the lakatan kind.
  • You can use a wavy knife (saw one from Cooks Exchange Rockwell), a butter knife even, or banana slicer (I like the one from True Value)
  • You can use any milk and sweetener you are comfortable with. I grew up using Evaporated Milk and plain white sugar, so that’s what we used today. But I might work with almond milk and coco sugar next time.
  • Basically, it’s just this: cut the bananas, pour the milk, add some sugar and ice, and eat!
  • In my opinion, it’s the ice that makes this simple dessert taste even better, so don’t skip it. I guess most especially if you live in a tropical country like we do.

Before calling P to work with me, I arranged everything in order (from left to right – for order and indirect preparation for writing).

Then I called him and asked him if he’d like to work with me. When he walked towards me, I showed him what’s on the table and started modeling (took it one step at a time. So me first, then him, me again, then him).

My work.
My son’s turn. I allow him to use whichever hand we wishes to use. I don’t try to correct him and tell him he should be using his right hand.
His work.
Time to pour the milk! Of course, he had to smell it and check it out first.
Whew! Thankfully, he put it all in. Though, I was ready for spilled milk and had extra milk in case. [Actually, I did not pour all the milk in the beaker as a preparation for possible spillage.]
I gave him a teaspoon with little sugar, and he put it in the bowl.
Finally, he topped it all off with ice. I took out the tongs earlier because he kept dipping it everywhere. Haha. I forgot to put it back in time for this. So he just poured all the ice on the bowl.
Our work. Yum.

Of course, after all his work, he had to taste it!

Practical life work is always fun to do with infants and toddlers. Because they are just learning about the world and their environment, it’s natural that they want to do what they see us do, which is why introducing these skills are not hard to do at all at this stage.

I feel like I have to mention though, that the goal here is not for them to create perfect outcomes. Skill comes with practice and repetition, so you cannot expect them to hold the spoon properly right away, or pour without spilling, or not try to eat or explore the ingredients while you’re so focused on making your intended dessert.

While my goal was to have some yummy post-lunch dessert, my son’s was probably different – he was just focused on doing some cutting, pouring, and transferring work. It was only after that he probably got to connect that he could eat what we made, too. So, keep in mind that when you work with young children, the goal is just really to introduce, expose, and let them try. The great side effect is that they also get to work on their fine motor skills without any effort. This indirect preparation is so important for what they will do in the future. But for now, expect mistakes, expect spillage, expect mess. Remember, our patience and preparation are important, too, for at the end of the day, they are the deal-breakers: they will either make or break our child’s experience.

“It takes 5 minutes to clean up spilled milk. It takes much longer to clean up a broken spirit.” – Rebecca Eanes

 

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