Cooking with your children can be a great treat – most children love the fun and messiness that comes with a kitchen. Not to mention the creativity and chance to celebrate an achievement at the end.
Want to avoid potential disasters but still encourage your kids to spend time cooking with you?
TRY THESE TOP TIPS FOR COOKING WITH LITTLE ONES:
1. PREP BEFORE YOU BEGIN:
Before you start, make sure you have all the ingredients and equipment out and easily accessible. Where possible, use children’s versions of cutlery and baking goods. Select an appropriate recipe for little hands and give some thought to child-friendly tasks like stirring ingredients in a bowl or washing vegetables. The same goes for the kids – before you start cooking, wash hands, tie back hair, and don aprons or clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty.
2. EXPECT THE MESS:
No matter how organised you are, children tend to be messy – even more so when they have access to flour and water! Drape a plastic mat or table cloth over the floor they are standing on or place them in high chairs to minimise the fuss. At the same time, remember that cooking together is meant to be fun so a bit of mess is completely worth it. Join in the fun and do a clean-up session afterwards.
3. TALK IT UP:
Go over the recipe together – older children can read it out step by step. Chat about what you’re making, what each person involved will do, timings, and tasks. Cooking can be a great way to learn about the world – from mathematics to geography to culture. Make your children feel involved and, above all, make it fun.
4. USE KID-FRIENDLY EQUIPMENT:
Kitchens can be dangerous places. To avoid potential harm, use plastic rather than glass. Work with plastic tools such as plastic knives and safe kitchen tools such as baby scissors. A rolling pin can be a great tool for a child to use in the kitchen – they can roll out pastry – or give them a range of biscuit cutters and booking goodies to get their creative juices flowing.
5. ALWAYS BE SAFE:
If your recipe requires using the stove or equipment like scissors or knives, be sure to take control of the process. Children need to understand that they could be hurt if they do not follow your instructions or try to do potentially dangerous tasks on their own such as boiling water which is a big no-no. It’s your job to keep them safe – watch the stove or any hot pots, put away sharp knives, and give your children their own dedicated cooking space with a short step ladder for a good view, if necessary.
6. TAKE A BITE:
Once all the cooking has been done, sit down together as a family and enjoy the results of all your hard work. Encourage your children to taste what they’ve made and enjoy sharing it with others.
Relax and have fun! Teaching your children to cook is a valuable life skill that will stand them in good stead later in life. Need cooking, baking, and food storage containers?