Kids often watch their parents working and completing everyday tasks and long to be involved in the process, help out, and feel grown up.
7 Essential Tips For Cooking With Kids
The kitchen, in particular, can be an intriguing place for children, with all of its appliances, utensils, noises, smells, and processes.
Cooking with kids can be a great bonding and learning experience, from trying new foods, to learning about safety and nutrition, to enhancing their practical skills. Not only will the kids benefit from the experience, but parents can enjoy the time spent together and the food that results from it!
Here are 7 tips brought to you by Funky Fairy Parties to follow when cooking with kids:
Choose a good time – It’s a good idea to set time aside, when you’re not on a tight schedule. Pick a time when you’re relaxed and focused on the experience, not a time when you’re stressed and focused on needing to prepare a meal quickly. Go slow and limit chaos. Make sure the kids aren’t really hungry while you’re cooking as well, because this could make them impatient and agitated.
Planning – With the help of your children, choose a recipe or plan a meal, making a list of ingredients to gather from the kitchen or buy at the store. This will make them feel engaged and excited about the process to follow. And after all, anticipation can be half the fun for children! It will also help them learn how to plan ahead and let them feel proud of making little decisions.
Prepare the area – Before you start cooking, take a few minutes alone to prepare the kitchen, having all the utensils and equipment you’ll need in an easily accessible place, and removing dangerous or sharp objects out of your children’s reach. For young children, it might also be a good idea to have a chair or stool ready for them to be able to work at the right height. Finally, read through the recipes and decide which tasks you’ll delegate to each child.
Safety and supervision – As previously mentioned, it’s a good idea to remove sharp objects from the immediate area, but it’s also important to explain other safety information in age appropriate terms. Let them know what they shouldn’t touch, such as the stove or boiling pots and pans. Let them know what you expect from them, and give them clear instructions to follow. It’s also a good opportunity to teach them about the role of hygiene in food preparation. Regardless of how much information you’ve given them, it’s always a good idea to supervise young children at all times in the kitchen anyway.
Involve the kids – Once you have safety and supervision covered, let the children be as involved as possible, allowing them to help with planning, measuring, stirring, spreading, and cleaning up. Keep them occupied and engaged by giving them small, simple tasks; longer, more complicated jobs can cause them to lose interest. If all else fails, fill up the sink and let them wash up and splash around, keeping them entertained, safe, and involved, and keeping your utensils clean!
Get creative – Let the kids experiment and come up with their own creations like adding a funny face to a pizza, making a kebab out of fruit, and cutting sandwiches into special shapes. Take this time to introduce new foods in a fun way as well, allowing them to try new things as they go along. Don’t be afraid to substitute certain ingredients and flavors as well.
Relax and enjoy – The key to a relaxing and enjoyable experience is to loosen up and be patient. It doesn’t matter if things don’t work out perfectly or if the results end up being an unprecedented culinary disaster – the most important thing is enjoying the experience together, teaching new skills to the kids, and having fun.
End by praising them for their efforts and successes and asking them what they’d like to make the next time you cook together!
- License: Creative Commons image source
Deborah Lee is a mother of three and writes regularly on the topics of parenting, kids and food. Her passion is baking and cooking with her young children.