Monday, July 7, 2014

“Can I Help?” — Getting Kids to Help In the Kitchen

Image by Rachel Tayse, used under Creative Commons licence.

Cooking with kids might spell disaster with a capital ‘D’, but, actually, it’s a fun and rewarding experience that teaches kids life skills and raises their awareness about healthy eating. In the fast food- and convenience meal-culture of today, many children grow up without having learned to cook even the most simple of dishes, or with no idea where their food comes from. Getting the kids to take part in meal preparation connects them to the food supply and sets them on the path to healthy eating and self-sufficiency later on in life. Oh and it can also lighten your workload in the kitchen slightly, which is always good!

Some recipes and aspects of cooking obviously aren't suited for small children, such as chopping vegetables and preparing elaborate dishes, but most everyday food has some element children can participate in. Take soup; when making a soup, parents can do all the chopping while the kids can gather the diced and sliced vegetables and heat them up in the soup pot or slow cooker. They can also tear up greens for a salad, and may even enjoy coming to the grocery or market to pick out ingredients. 


If cakes and biscuits are on the agenda, the kids can help to put the measured ingredients into the bowl (maybe they can even measure them out?), stir the batter, grease pans and shape things like cookies. There’s something about the ticking of the timer and the whirring of the oven that makes kids enjoy simply watching the baking process. Let them take light items such as baking trays without the oven — but supervise them while they’re doing it, and most importantly, make sure that they’re wearing oven gloves.

Slow cooker meals are good to make with kids because they allow both parties to take it easy. Prepare the ingredients and start the slow cooker at bedtime, and make it a game to guess what sort of food will be there the next day. Recipes like jams and jellies that require constant stirring provide an excellent way for kids to take part in preparation.

Whether it's a tray of chocolate chip cookies or a stew, there are many ways to involve children in cooking. Getting kids involved in age-appropriate ways teaches them valuable life skills and helps them appreciate all the hard work that goes into making meals. Children are naturally curious and most kids are happy to help in the kitchen. It makes them feel important and useful. As a bonus, many children are more likely to eat their veggies if they had a part in preparing them. No more stressful mealtimes!


For more ideas on how to involve young children in the kitchen see 10 Jobs a two year old can do in the kitchen

This is a collaborative post written by a guest author, exclusively for A Blissful Life







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