As a Stay At Home Dad I do all the cooking for my family. During the day I am a men’s health blogger, and in the afternoon I am Mr. Mom helping the kids (two beautiful girls 8 and 11) with homework and cooking healthy meals for the family. The kids always want to help me in the kitchen cooking and preparing the meals. As with most parents, cooking with kids can be a challenge with small kids, where listening and following instructions can be an issue. I resolved this by doling out age appropriate cooking activities for each of my kids.
Age Appropriate Cooking Activities for Kids
When I am cooking and the kids want to help, I try to find age appropriate cooking activities for the kids. If the recipe calls for eggs, I let my younger daughter break the eggs in a bowl and mix them. If the recipe has multiple measurements of different ingredients, I have my older daughter read the directions to understand what the recipe calls for and to help her with math, I let her measure out the various ingredients. I found this helps each of my kids feel important for helping, and it teaches them the importance of following instructions, whether playing sports, following a teacher’s instructions or cooking. Also, it reinforces what can happen if they don’t follow the recipe. The dish won’t taste right, won’t cook right, etc.
This also a great time for me to bond with my kids, and they get to tell mom what they did to help make the meal.
Age appropriate cooking activities is particularly important when using an electric appliance, such as a hand blender, stand mixer, oven, stove top burner or microwave oven, or knives. While both kids want to help when an appliance is involved, delegating age appropriate responsibilities is critical here to prevent cuts or burns. While you need to use your best judgement with your own kids and appliances, most kids cookbooks recommend electric appliances, stove tops and ovens be reserved for kids ten and older. The reason I say use best judgement, is that I let my younger daughter make her own eggs with my supervision, to prevent burns or spills.
Best Cookbook for Kids
We got the New Junior Cookbook as a gift and my kids love it. It has their favorite foods, is easy to follow, not too much cutting is involved so little chance of cutting fingers. When cutting, chopping or cooking is involved, it recommends age appropriate cooking activities. This helps make you not the bad guy if they want to do something that may not be appropriate for their age.
You can find the New Junior Cookbook or other kids cookbooks at Amazon.com