Friday, April 04, 2008

Cooking With Kids - What You Should Know

At what age should kids be allowed to participate in the kitchen? If the thought of letting your kids loose in the kitchen conjures up visuals of sticky spaghetti mashed into the floor and accompanying sauce spray patterned on the wall, let me give you some advice. It's not all 'mess and clean-up'.

In the (sometimes) mad rush to get meals on the table on a regular basis, we can sometimes forget what a fun activity cooking can be. It's pleasures are certainly not lost on children though, who embrace the process of creating something special with a simple list of healthy ingredients that they can enjoy eating as a finale.

From a very early age, children pretend to cook – they make mud pies in the sandpit, hold elaborate tea parties in the bath. They enjoy the process of choosing a recipe, planning the process, assembling the ingredients (creativity), measuring with cups and spoons (maths), and chopping and peeling tasks that require and develop their concentration skills. Guiding and assisting your children in the kitchen will help develop and reinforce these learning skills. Kids love projects that have a beginning (preparation), a middle (messy, creative fun), and an end (eating and enjoying what they've made).

Learning to cook is not only fun for children but a skill that will stay with them for the rest of their lives. Involving your children in cooking teaches them important life skills and if you guide them in choosing the ingredients wisely, can give them the appreciation of good nutritional food rather than fast unhealthy takeaway food.

Helping your child to feel confident with cooking has many benefits:

. Contributing to the household duties helps them to feel important.
. Learning to work together as a team to get the job done.
. Learning to plan and make responsible choices.
. Developing and practicing their creativity and imagination.

A cooking party is a perfect way to celebrate the birthday of a young eager-to-learn child. Not only does a cooking party provide an invaluable hands-on activity to entertain them and their guests, but it concludes with a meal for them all to enjoy. Even fussy eaters will be thrilled to eat something they have made with their own hands. There's something about creating a meal themselves which makes them more likely to eat whatever they had a hand in making.

It may take longer to prepare the meal but the moments with your children will be priceless.

Tips:

. Always make sure children are supervised in the kitchen.
. Never leave children unattended in the kitchen.
. Keep it fun and age-appropriate.
. Let your child get involved in choosing a recipe everyone will enjoy.
. Have patience. Don't worry about flour on the floor or spilled milk.
. Choose recipes that don't involve sharp knives or the oven.
. Choose easy recipes - dips, pizzas, meatballs, icing cupcakes.
. Make sure the children tie their hair back and wash their hands.

Here's an easy child’s recipe for starters:

VEGIE DIP

Ingredients:
1 tspoon Salad Dressing
1 pkt Cream Cheese
Celery
Broccoli
Carrots

Direction:
Combine (to taste required) salad dressing with cream cheese
and place in a small bowl. Cut and wash celery, broccoli and
carrots. Arrange cut pieces of vegetables around the bowl of
dip. (The vegies are for dunking into the dip).

Enjoy!

Related resource:
Cooking With Your Children Can Teach Them Confident

About the Author: Mary-Lou Halvorson is a mother of two children and creator of http://www.groovy-kids-parties.com. Mary-Lou offers many ideas for Kids Birthday Parties including kids novelty birthday cakes with photos and instructions. Check out http://www.groovy-kids-parties.com/cooking-party.html for more information.

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9 Comments:

Blogger SheR. said...

I totally agree with you!!!
Teaching children how to cook or bake is a great way to teach them important skills of discipline and coordination!

3:35 AM  
Blogger Symphony of Love said...

So I'll see you teaching your children how to cook and bake? :)

I believe it can be fun too.

4:14 AM  
Blogger Janet Campbell said...

Good post! My oldest son started cooking when he was 7. He is now a gourmet cook. Sharing our love for cooking, recipes, how to's, is a big part, a realy fun part of our relationship now that he's grown!

12:34 AM  
Blogger Symphony of Love said...

Wow, that is wonderful Janet! I certainly think that cooking can be a fun activity with children. :)

3:16 AM  
Anonymous lunaticg said...

hi!
teaching children how to cook can help them in the future. I support you, start teaching them at a young age.
See you around.

8:04 PM  
Blogger Dorothy said...

This is so true I've always cooked with all of my grandchildren and taught them to clean up as well. We have such a great time and the memories are divine.

I'll try your dip next time my youngest Noah 6 visits..he just left after two evenings and I'm exhausted.

Dorothy from grammology
grammology.com

5:00 PM  
Blogger Wendy Tomlinson said...

Cooking with kids sets the foundations for a healthy, connected family. It's a special time for sharing.

This is a very nice blog. Thank you

7:53 AM  
Anonymous BK said...

Yes, cooking with kids can indeed foster bonding with them.

5:07 PM  
Blogger The Mind of a Mom said...

Thank you for visiting my blog today it was nice to see you. I used to have my kids in the kitchen with me when they were little and I had a blast as did they. the most important thing is to relax and have fun!

7:16 PM  

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