If you’re looking to get dinner on the table quick-smart, this is not the blog post for you. Doing something with children always takes time. However, cooking with kids is a fantastic family activity and worth the extra planning and effort.
If you have a bit of time to spend on creating a meal, be it weekend brunch or weekday dinner, why not add your kids into the mix?
Not literally into the batter, of course – just allow them to help you cook. It’s quality time together, a great skill for them to learn, and also a great training opportunity to learn how to make their favourite dishes. Once they are old enough to use a knife and boil water unattended, you’ll have personal chefs at your service.
Getting your little ones involved in the kitchen is invaluable to development of cooking skills. Beyond the obvious benefits of imparting cooking skills, time spent cooking with your kids will:
Even toddlers can be involved in cooking! Get them a stepping stool so they can stand at the bench and see what’s going on.
You should give your kids age-appropriate jobs. Tasks that require the use of knives should be given to older kids.
They could stir baking ingredients together. Young kids can participate in fun activities, such as to sprinkle on toppings like shredded cheese or salt, wash produce such as carrots, and even mash potatoes or avocado depending on their dexterity.
Older children (aged four plus) can do a lot more, and may even be properly helpful! They could juice or peel fruit, mix and pour ingredients, grease pans, and many other tasks.
Measuring ingredients is a great job for school-aged children, utilising their maths skills. Plastic or butter knives can be used to chop things like bananas. When they are older, you can trust them to use real ones.
Don’t be too concerned about messes, and most importantly, talk about what you are doing and creating! Each time you cook, talk about fun facts about healthy food and important nutrition information such as choosing to eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables to gain the maximum amount of nutrients.
Choosing the right recipe is key. You don’t want to attempt filet mignon and have it burn while supervising a toddler mixing the ceviche.
These “Three Ps” are a few ideas for dishes that are simple and use inexpensive, common ingredients so a little wastage won’t matter.
Use pasta as the basis of your meal and let your imagination go wild. A classic spaghetti bolognese is great, but you can use any sauces, vegetables and meat that you like. In fact, if the kids are helping, why not let them choose?
A favourite to eat and easy to cook, pizza is perfect. They can help to mix the dough, tear up and arrange toppings, and spread sauce on the base. They can also help to make a salad side dish, because greens are important!
If you’re making breakfast or brunch, pancakes are a delicious option. They provide plenty of opportunity for small hands to help: mixing, pouring, sprinkling blueberries or chocolate chips, and watching for bubbles that indicate it’s time to flip.
You needn’t stop there – you know your kids best, what they are capable of and what they like to eat.
Be hygiene-conscious when cooking with the kids. They’re never too young to have healthly habits drilled into them.
Hand-washing should be compulsory, so set up a station for that somewhere they can reach – you can even get hands-free basin taps nowadays to avoid germy handles.
Image Source: Unsplash
Teaching kids to cook and to develop cooking skills is very important.
Make an occasion of eating what they have helped to cook—turn off any media devices, set the table nicely and enjoy the fruits of your labour.
Growing up for Harper Reid very often meant coming home to the smell of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, butter cakes, or the aroma of her Mum’s delicious pasta dinners.
She remembers their kitchen as a little room in the house where spectacular meals and many lovely family memories were made. Know more about Harper through her writing on Tumblr.