I love to encourage little ones to be creative and teaching them to cook is a great way to express their creative side. I’ve already been in the kitchen cooking with my two-year-old granddaughter, we made my Muesli Slice from book 3 which she loves as a snack. One of the benefits of teaching kids to cook is that as they get older they can help out when you are busy; and who doesn’t want dinner cooked for them.
Here are some tips with kids in the kitchen:
- Have a stool handy so little ones can reach the bench easily.
- Provide an apron to avoid extra mess.
- Let them pick recipes that they like and help them to write a shopping list. In the supermarket they can be the shopper; this is a great opportunity to encourage learning about weights and measures. For example, show them how to locate sizes on products, e.g. 500g of mince or a 420g can of tomatoes.
- Don’t make cooking too hard as this can lead to frustration and spoil the experience. Choose recipes according to level of difficulty that suit the age group, so they can be in charge as much as possible.
- Never criticise or be angry with them, even if they drop an egg on the floor forget about the mess and have fun.
- Make sure the tasks are age appropriate, safety first! Provide proper oven gloves to protect their hands when removing food from the oven or microwave. Talk about knife safety.
- Explain hygiene – chopping on different boards i.e. chicken on one, vegetables on another. Show how to avoid cross contamination and encourage washing of hands.
- Make a reason for the children to cook such as a visit from Grandma or for snacks to take to school or a gift such as cookies, muffins or a fruit cake. Praise is a mighty strong way for cooking to become a fun and pleasant experience.
- Fill the sink with warm soapy water and clean up as you go so it’s not a big chore at the end.
- Spending time together cooking gives parents an opportunity to teach fractions and other measurements and also educate about food and nutrition. I’m sure some kids think milk comes from a carton.
Cooking with kids is a perfect opportunity to share knowledge with your children or grandchildren and then enjoy eating the food you cook. Fond memories are made when spending time together and who knows, you might find you have a budding chef on your hands.
Article submitted by Annette Sym of Symply Too Good