Little Chefs – Getting The Kids Active in the Kitchen.

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It’s a crying shame, but so many kids grow up without knowing the joy of cooking. In this busy world, it’s sometimes easier for parents to just get on with making the meals themselves. This means that there is not often time to familiarize the kids with how to cook.

While this seems like a time effective option, it can create real problems for children in later life. Kids can get used to having their meals just presented to them. This can lead them to have trouble taking responsibility for making their own healthy food choices. That is why it’s so important that you engage kids in cooking early on. Read on to find out more.

Get The Kids Involved In Cooking For Their Skills Development

There are many skills that you can start kids off with, in the kitchen. Baking is always fun as there is a sweet treat as a reward at the end, which is a definite motivator for kids. But you don’t have to start with the pastry arts. How about getting the kids to help you prep the daily meal. Or what about making homemade pasta together?

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Then, as they gain the confidence, you can progress them into other things and allow them to have a greater choice in what they would like to cook.

What many parents forget is that cooking is not just teaching the little one’s practical skills. But it’s also reinforcing their learning that they are doing elsewhere.

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For example, by even just baking something as simple as bread or cookies, the kids are using numeracy skill to weigh out the ingredients. They are using literacy to read the recipe. Then they are using fine motor skills to knead the dough and shape and decorate the end-result. They can even use science skills by explaining why the bread rises, or when the yeast is added, and it’s left in a warm place.

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In addition, cooking can be a very creative pursuit. Once they have learned the basics, it can allow them to get more in touch with their sense of color, flavor and textures.

Cooking With The Kids Is A Good Way Of Spending Quality Time Together

It seems like we are always searching for ways to spend quality time with our children, and many of us spend a lot of money taking them on holidays and days out.

But cooking together is something that can be done at home, with little extra cost, and on a regular basis. It a way of working in some creative family time into each day. Kids don’t always need big days out to be happy, sometime some simple attention and focus on the and what they are doing is enough. Cooking is just perfect for that.

 Cooking With The Kids Can Encourage Healthy Eating

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 Another major reason to allow the kids to come and help you in the kitchen is to foster a habit of healthy eating in them from a young age. Remember our tastes in food as a child is primarily based on what there is available for us to eat. We learn when we are young by eating the food that the others around us consume. So if you eat junk, sugar, and processed food, you kids will grow up thinking that is not only normal but an acceptable way of feeding themselves.

But if kids grow up with exposure to a healthy diet, full of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Then they will have a much better chance at being able to main a healthy diet on into their adult lives. That is where cooking with your kids comes in. If they are involved in the selection, prep, and cooking process, they will be much more invested in what they are eating.

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The will be eating the fruits of their own labors so to speak. They will also understand how to cook from scratch and what is going into each meal to make it wholesome and nourishing. This will stand them in good stead as they get older because they won’t have to rely on highly processed ready meals and prepackaged foods.

 Equipment

 When trying to get the kids to spend more time in the kitchen, it is essential to make sure that they have equipment that is accessible to them.

That might mean getting them their own baking or cooking set with tools that are kid-sized. They can also benefit from a splash proof apron of their own. Not only will that protect their clothes but it also helps them to feel welcome and included in the kitchen space.

Safety

Next, one of the prime concern for kids when working in the kitchen is their safety. There are plenty of potential dangers when cooking and preparing food with the kids. But these shouldn’t stop you from encouraging them to get involved. In fact, it’s much better to make them aware of the safety issues and how to conduct themselves in a safe manner if they occur.

 Firstly, the kids need to be taught the importance of hygiene practices. This means washing your hands before you start any cooking or prep. Depending on their age you can also explain raw food and contamination here. Or just get them into the habit of washing their hands after touching raw meat or dairy.

Next, it’s important to discuss knife safety with them. Even if you do not let them use kitchen knives yet, they could still be around in the kitchen. So and it’s vital that they know that they are sharp and can be dangerous.

 Lastly it essential that you go through cooker safety with them. Highlight that both the top of the cooker and inside the oven can get hot, as well as the pans themselves. Talk through how not to touch the hot places directly.

This is worthwhile doing even if you are using a safer induction cookware set of pans. These use an electromagnetic field to conduct heat from the cooker top to the pans, meaning the cooker top doesn’t get hot. Which is better when you are cooking with kids. But your little ones could use other ovens in the future, so need to be aware of the safety risks.

 Recipes That Are Perfect For Little Chefs

The last piece of the puzzle, in getting kids in the kitchen is to gather up some recipes that the kids will enjoy making. There are plenty of websites that cater their recipes for a younger audience, so take a look to find some fun dishes. Or you can have a go at these suggestions below:

 Smiley Face Pizzas

 A simple but effective recipe that works well with kids is the smiley face pizza. You can use premade base, but it’s better if you get to make your own, follow the recipe here.

Then once you have stretched out the dough. Top with tomato paste and grated cheese. The kids can then go crazy and add of their choice of vegetables and other toppings. The only rule being that the pizza needs to resemble a face once it cooked.

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It’s such a great way of encouraging kids to try different ingredients and vegetables. It’s o fun they will barely even notice all that healthy stuff!

Home Made Ice Lollies

Perfect for summer and healthier than the one you buy in the supermarket, making your own ice lollies is a great kitchen activity to do for kids.

Start with a fruit base of your child’s choice. Puree the fruit in a blender. Make Sure they are supervised. Then add natural yogurt. Poor into lolly molds and add sticks if necessary. Then freeze and enjoy as a healthy and cooling treat. Delicious!

 

 

62 Comments

  1. I’ve had good luck with my 2 year old and a whisk. Whisks are much less likely to fling batter/flour etc around the kitchen/up the walls. Try giving little ones a whisk instead of a wooden spoon when mixing.

  2. One of my earliest memories – from about age four – is Mom teaching me to set the table. And one of my best childhood memories of my father – from age six – is of him teaching me how to bake cookies. By nine, I was occasionally cooking dinner for the family, and doing it regularly (two to four times a week, depending on how many meetings Mom had) by the time I was fourteen.

    Cooking and baking were the warp and weft of my life from an early age. It’s one of the best things my parents did for me… and they did quite a few things right!

  3. I love your article and I am sending your article to my daughter because she is love cooking and she also make different different dishes anyways you have more tips so share on this blog.

  4. Anything that engages kids is a good thing. And if they feel like they accomplished helping make a meal, then that may inspire them to do more.

  5. My kids ate better when they helped with part of the meal, dessert or snack. They liked decorating cookies and I remember my mom had us cutting dates using scissors for Date Nut Bread.

  6. Always a good dea to get kiddos involved young..like me.
    This has encouraged me to continue family traditions..love quality good and cooking too.
    I started very young with my grandma and mom, starting in a chair.
    You might be a mom of a future chef!

  7. Cheryl Chervitz on

    Great ideas. I used to have my kids in the kitchen with me. I wanted them to know how to cook and move out!

  8. Great post! It is so true about kids cooking and learning to love just that. I cooked as a young kid and I love to cook even more now as an adult. They also say that kids that cook tend to try more new types of foods. That is always a great thing too 🙂

  9. Hey Lisa, I absolutely agree with that. Kids are always full of creative and cute ideas, so it’s good to get them to learn cooking. I have been baking with my sister’s kids in the kitchen recently and all I can say is that our relationship has gone for the better too!

    Katy

  10. My kids love to cook. I’m so glad that they still have home economic classes to teach basics like cooking and sewing in their school.

  11. My son has always enjoyed cooking with me. I feel it is very important for children to learn how to cook. It helps with independence, you should not have to rely on another person to cook for you, this is a basic skill everyone needs to have.

  12. My Mom and older siblings taught me how to cook when I was a child…great memories. Then, I taught my children how to cook when they were growing up…great memories. Cooking is essential to each member of the family especially children. So when they grow up and attend college or move into their own place, they will have the “know how” to cook a home cook meal.

  13. I think it’s a great idea to get children involved in the kitchen. I remember helping my mother and grandmother in the kitchen as a child and all the great memories that were made.

  14. My niece loves to help her mom in the kitchen. She’s only three but is already fairly accomplished in her skills for her age.

  15. i think getting kids involved in the kitchen is so important! It teaches important life skills, encourages bonding time, and keeps your kids doing something besides electronics.

  16. My kids’ interest in cooking has gone through cycles through the years. When they were young, up to 5 or 6 yrs old, and again now as older teens/young adults, they are interested in cooking again.

  17. My kids are loving learning to cook. My constant struggle is getting my daughter to learn how to read a recipe and what things generally work together before she just starts throwing things in a bowl. We’ve tasted a few interesting creations!

  18. My children love helping me cook. They can be quite creative at times. 🙂 It does encourage them to be more aware of ingredients.

  19. Not much of a cook, my poor daughter…. But there’s light at the end of the tunnel.
    My brother is studying to be a chef…
    Thanks… Little Chefs

    Color doesn’t make who you are, you do…!

  20. rebecca scolari on

    I love the picture of that thing that was being used for the raviolis ! I love having my kid help me with things in the kitchen

  21. I agree! It teaches children basic learning skills. I had my children help in the kitchen and they really enjoyed it. They went on to do well in school too. It was also fun!

  22. I love getting my granddaughter to help in the kitchen by showing them cookbooks. Letting them choose recipes they would like to bake. We start off with something small and work up. It can be fun an exciting. I had boys, only my youngest son loved helping in the kitchen and is a great cook. Having granddaughter is a joy and teaching them is awesome.

  23. Many of my favorite memories as a kid and as an adult were cooking with my mom and this is a great way to connect with kids and maybe spark as interest is trying foods.

  24. Stephanie Phelps on

    I had all four of my sons in the kitchen helping out and my next to the oldest would love to be a chef I love all these tips they are amazing and I will be using in the future!

  25. My 18 yr old son recently thanked me for getting him involved in the kitchen, realizing that he now has some of the basic knowledge that he needs when he’s on his own.

  26. My daughter is always helping me in the kitchen she loves to stir the bowls and break the eggs! she een has her own little apron and spatula i got her at walmart.

  27. elizabeth miller on

    I love the cute ideas. My daughter loves making stuff in the kitchen. This summer she even did a few meals on her own for us.

  28. My nieces and nephews are always thrilled to join in and producing the food that is eaten by the family. They come away with a sense of achievement.

  29. I have always encouraged my daughter to help in the kitchen. I have found that if they help prepare the meal they are more likely to try something different because they had a hand in making it.

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