Cooking with kids can be tricky at times but with some creativity it is actually a lot of fun. One of the most important aspects of cooking with kids in my opinion is teaching your children about the nutrition and ingredients in the food they are eating. By having them help you in the kitchen, they can see exactly what goes into each meal. This creates a better appreciation for food and helps your family stay healthy and connected.
I don’t remember helping out in the kitchen much as a child. And honestly, I never cooked until
literally the last year or so. As a mom, I’ve embraced my adulthood a little and learned all kinds of new tricks almost to the point of actually loving being in the kitchen now.
To get started, you’ll want to think about the recipes you normally make and split them up into things that kids can be trusted with and things that are not safe until an older age.
My daughter is 4 years old so these suggestions are how she helps me. For a younger or older child, you’ll want to do what feels right for you. When I cook with my kids, this is how they help:
How I Am Cooking With Kids
· Push power or pulse buttons on food processors, mixers or blenders.
This is a good time to explain the safety of each of these appliances as well. Always store these out of your child’s reach but when cooking together; having your child flip the switch can be very exciting for kids.
· Add dry ingredients. I love teaching math to my big girl. I often explain to her the different measuring cups even if it’s a bit advanced for her age. She helps pour the dry ingredients into the bowl. As she pours these things in, we talk about what they are and how the impact the final dish.
· Gets hands on with mixing, kneading or rolling. Think about how much your kids love Play-doh. Your bread dough, cookie batter, granola bars and more can easily be just as fun. Do not be afraid to let your kids get their hands a little dirty to help you roll dough into little balls or knead out into a large flat pizza crust, etc.
This is just a short list of fun things you can do. Hopefully it gets your wheels spinning and cooking with your kids becoming a more regular event in your house.
Before I conclude, I want to share some important safety tips. Please be careful!
· Be extra cautious when handling any kind of raw meat. Kids like to put their hands in their mouths at random. They pick their noses and rub their eyes. You may want to leave all the meat handling to the adults at first.
· Teach your children knife safety at an appropriate age. We do not yet let my 4 year old chop vegetables or fruit but we have started letting her handle butter knives to spread things like peanut butter and jelly or to cut through soft items like bread or noodles.
· Explain the different parts of your oven and stove. Cooking with kids is fun but there are a lot of real ways kids can get hurt. It is up to us to teach them the right and wrong ways to do things and not practice them until they are able to truly comprehend what they have learned.
Now head out to the kitchen and cook with your kids!
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