For some parents, the idea of letting the kids loose in the kitchen can be nerve wracking. Not to mention the potential dangers and mess involved. Sigh! But finding manageable ways to get the kiddies involved with the meal time prep may not help get the dinner on the table quicker, but will help keep their hands and brains busy.
Here are some ways to making cooking fun with your kids, no matter the age.
Look through cookbooks together. Have them choose a few recipes that they would like to make. Start off with simple recipes with fewer steps. A smoothie or juice or adding pizza toppings is an ideal starting place. As they become more experienced in the kitchen you can start introducing more complex recipes.
Assign age-appropriate tasks in the kitchen. You’d be surprised how much they can assist with. Think measuring ingredients, pressing the button on the food processor or being in charge of the kitchen timer. At best, these cooking methods are applying math and science in every day life.
Taste everything together. Talk to them about the colours, textures and flavours of ingredients. Then show them how they’ve changed after being cooked. Children who cook become children who taste, and sometimes eat.
Take them shopping. Give them them to write out the shopping list and assist you with selecting the ingredients. f You can let the occasional packet of chips sneak in the trolley, but the idea is showing them how to follow a pre-written shopping or recipe they chose.
Assign special tools. This way, anytime they go into the kitchen, they can have their own special mixing spoon to use or their own set of colourful measuring cups.
Start a little garden. It doesn’t have to be a full herb garden. Try just a small basil plant that your child nurtures and then uses the leaves to make homemade pesto.
Be patient. Yes, it’s probably quicker if you do it yourself, but the more you cook with kids, the faster they will be. Just factor in extra prep time and soon you’ll find that the more you cook with your kids, the less extra time you’ll need.