Cooking With Kids
Cooking with your children can not only make time for quality family bonding, but a kitchen is a great place for kids to learn essential life skills. In cooking and baking, we are faced with language, math, science, and high motor functions. Measuring, reading, and chopping can become second nature to us as adults, but there is much children can learn from following a recipe from beginning to end. Being able to cook can also build a child’s self-confidence, concentration, and may even become their new favorite activity!
So how do you get started with introducing children to the kitchen?
While it helps when the recipe is fun or cute, like making monster faces out of fruit, children are not always given the credit they deserve in that they are more ready than we realize to take on more mature tasks or seriously helping with preparing dinner for the family.
To begin, select recipes with your family. Ask your child what might sound good to them and allow them to pick recipes.
Next, go grocery shopping together to pick out the ingredients for your recipe. This could also be a potential lesson for learning how to budget and save money when cooking at home.
When it comes time to cook, work on preparations together. Get all of your ingredients, prepare them accordingly, and bring out all the kitchen equipment you’ll need.
Depending on age, your children might not be ready to wield a kitchen knife or work with the stove, but other tasks such as measuring, sorting, kneading, or mixing is well within their grasp to complete with success. Divide the tasks between you and your children, allowing them to take on the responsibility to prepare their part. Children can wash vegetables, peel carrots or potatoes, measure out ingredients such as water, flour, seasonings, oil.
If they are old enough to do more technical tasks, spend time teaching them how to do the work safely such as curling their fingertips under their knuckles when guiding vegetables under the knife for chopping, why certain flame temperatures matter, how to avoid burning oil in the pan, and being mindful of hot surfaces or liquids and sharp objects. Other important concepts include cross-contamination, being sanitary, and how to properly handle raw meat.
Allow time to explain the recipe to your children and answer their questions, but provide help when they ask for it. Children feel a greater sense of pride and accomplishment when they can complete something on their own. Cooking is also a task that requires clear communication and the kitchen can help build great communication skills.
Cooking together can also help you and your family make healthy choices and cultivate a love of different foods.
If you are reluctant or worried about introducing your kids to the kitchen because it is sometimes viewed as a dangerous environment, consider these tips from Super Healthy Kids. They also offer recipes for different life stages.
With our recipes, there are many options for you to try cooking with your children. But of course, it can still be a fun and rewarding activity for your whole family!
Here are our top picks for you and your family to try together: