Cooking with kids is a win-win. It’s a great way to spend time together, and the perfect opportunity to pass on essential skills and confidence. Stirred through with fun and flavour, cooking teaches kids facts about food and where it comes from; and encourages the use of maths, reading, comprehension, and problem solving. But how does whipping up dinner compete with an afternoon of singing along to The Wiggles? Try these handy tips to get kids in the kitchen.
Offer a Valid Reason
Grandma is coming to visit. You need snacks for school. Let’s make a birthday cake. These are all great reasons to encourage kids to get cooking. Remember to praise good work, and keep the activity fun and pleasant – no pressure if the cake comes out uneven, problem-solve with a clever cloak of icing.
Hand Over the Shopping List
Get kids engaged by having them choose the recipes they’d like to make (from your short-list), and help compile a shopping list. Make them part of the task at the supermarket by having them help find ingredients, calculate money, and deal with checkout staff.
Get the Chef’s Essentials
Give children their own cooking equipment to add excitement to the task. Having their own apron, oven gloves, and utensils not only ensures safety in the kitchen, it adds a certain level of responsibility and ownership, too.
Start with Breakfast
The first meal of the day is full of fast and easy options. Think eggy bread, scrambled eggs, pancakes, fruit salads or delicious smoothies – all featuring basic prep and cooking skills you’ll need for life. Start by setting aside one weekend morning when minds are fresh, and you have time to go at a slower pace.
Expect Mess & Be Patient
Cooking can get messy at the best of times, so be smart about the additional chaos that will ensue with kids mixed into the recipe. Consider laying a plastic tablecloth on the floor or a mat underneath their cooking area to prevent lasting damage from spills. Keep criticism in check even when that egg hits the floor! And resist the urge to take over and get things done fast. The key is to factor in plenty extra time even when working with simple recipes.