It’s a crying shame, but so many kids grow up without knowing the joy of cooking. In this busy world, it’s sometimes easier for parents to just get on with making the meals themselves. This means that there is not often time to familiarize the kids with how to cook.
While this seems like a time effective option, it can create real problems for children in later life. Kids can get used to having their meals just presented to them. This can lead them to have trouble taking responsibility for making their own healthy food choices. That is why it’s so important that you engage kids in cooking early on. Read on to find out more.
Get The Kids Involved In Cooking For Their Skills Development
There are many skills that you can start kids off with, in the kitchen. Baking is always fun as there is a sweet treat as a reward at the end, which is a definite motivator for kids. But you don’t have to start with the pastry arts. How about getting the kids to help you prep the daily meal. Or what about making homemade pasta together?
Then, as they gain the confidence, you can progress them into other things and allow them to have a greater choice in what they would like to cook.
What many parents forget is that cooking is not just teaching the little one’s practical skills. But it’s also reinforcing their learning that they are doing elsewhere.
For example, by even just baking something as simple as bread or cookies, the kids are using numeracy skill to weigh out the ingredients. They are using literacy to read the recipe. Then they are using fine motor skills to knead the dough and shape and decorate the end-result. They can even use science skills by explaining why the bread rises, or when the yeast is added, and it’s left in a warm place.
In addition, cooking can be a very creative pursuit. Once they have learned the basics, it can allow them to get more in touch with their sense of color, flavor and textures.
Cooking With The Kids Is A Good Way Of Spending Quality Time Together
It seems like we are always searching for ways to spend quality time with our children, and many of us spend a lot of money taking them on holidays and days out.
But cooking together is something that can be done at home, with little extra cost, and on a regular basis. It a way of working in some creative family time into each day. Kids don’t always need big days out to be happy, sometime some simple attention and focus on the and what they are doing is enough. Cooking is just perfect for that.
Cooking With The Kids Can Encourage Healthy Eating
Another major reason to allow the kids to come and help you in the kitchen is to foster a habit of healthy eating in them from a young age. Remember our tastes in food as a child is primarily based on what there is available for us to eat. We learn when we are young by eating the food that the others around us consume. So if you eat junk, sugar, and processed food, you kids will grow up thinking that is not only normal but an acceptable way of feeding themselves.
But if kids grow up with exposure to a healthy diet, full of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Then they will have a much better chance at being able to main a healthy diet on into their adult lives. That is where cooking with your kids comes in. If they are involved in the selection, prep, and cooking process, they will be much more invested in what they are eating.
The will be eating the fruits of their own labors so to speak. They will also understand how to cook from scratch and what is going into each meal to make it wholesome and nourishing. This will stand them in good stead as they get older because they won’t have to rely on highly processed ready meals and prepackaged foods.
When trying to get the kids to spend more time in the kitchen, it is essential to make sure that they have equipment that is accessible to them.
That might mean getting them their own baking or cooking set with tools that are kid-sized. They can also benefit from a splash proof apron of their own. Not only will that protect their clothes but it also helps them to feel welcome and included in the kitchen space.
Next, one of the prime concern for kids when working in the kitchen is their safety. There are plenty of potential dangers when cooking and preparing food with the kids. But these shouldn’t stop you from encouraging them to get involved. In fact, it’s much better to make them aware of the safety issues and how to conduct themselves in a safe manner if they occur.
Firstly, the kids need to be taught the importance of hygiene practices. This means washing your hands before you start any cooking or prep. Depending on their age you can also explain raw food and contamination here. Or just get them into the habit of washing their hands after touching raw meat or dairy.
Next, it’s important to discuss knife safety with them. Even if you do not let them use kitchen knives yet, they could still be around in the kitchen. So and it’s vital that they know that they are sharp and can be dangerous.
Lastly it essential that you go through cooker safety with them. Highlight that both the top of the cooker and inside the oven can get hot, as well as the pans themselves. Talk through how not to touch the hot places directly.
This is worthwhile doing even if you are using a safer induction cookware set of pans. These use an electromagnetic field to conduct heat from the cooker top to the pans, meaning the cooker top doesn’t get hot. Which is better when you are cooking with kids. But your little ones could use other ovens in the future, so need to be aware of the safety risks.
Recipes That Are Perfect For Little Chefs
The last piece of the puzzle, in getting kids in the kitchen is to gather up some recipes that the kids will enjoy making. There are plenty of websites that cater their recipes for a younger audience, so take a look to find some fun dishes. Or you can have a go at these suggestions below:
Smiley Face Pizzas
A simple but effective recipe that works well with kids is the smiley face pizza. You can use premade base, but it’s better if you get to make your own, follow the recipe here.
Then once you have stretched out the dough. Top with tomato paste and grated cheese. The kids can then go crazy and add of their choice of vegetables and other toppings. The only rule being that the pizza needs to resemble a face once it cooked.
It’s such a great way of encouraging kids to try different ingredients and vegetables. It’s o fun they will barely even notice all that healthy stuff!
Home Made Ice Lollies
Perfect for summer and healthier than the one you buy in the supermarket, making your own ice lollies is a great kitchen activity to do for kids.
Start with a fruit base of your child’s choice. Puree the fruit in a blender. Make Sure they are supervised. Then add natural yogurt. Poor into lolly molds and add sticks if necessary. Then freeze and enjoy as a healthy and cooling treat. Delicious!