Mums are busy, busy, busy these days and if your kids are like mine they want in on the cooking action! This becomes easier when you have a little more time, such as during the school holidays or the weekend. They are an ideal time to get into the kitchen and having a little fun. I cook with my kids every day during the holidays because it’s a cheap activity, there are tasks for all ages and we get to eat the end-product.
What can kids do in the kitchen?
They will surprise you with what they can do, but you need to let go of your high standards. There will be mess and the food won’t look perfect, but there will be lots of fun. And with each new skill children learn, they gain confidence. Here are some tasks for them:
Sifting: Use a really large bowl and a small sieve and there will be less mess.
Slicing: Get toddlers to use a plastic knife to slice soft fruits like bananas. Give older children a serrated knife with a round tip and show them how to “saw” bread so they can cut sandwiches.
Mixing: Using a whisk or wooden spoon is for all ages.
Measuring: Using cups and spoons. Show them how to fill a cup and level it off with a plastic knife.
Cracking eggs: They LOVE this! It will be messy and you may have to pick out some shell, but it’s fun.
Sprinkling: Icing sugar, sprinkles for cupcakes and bacon and cheese onto pizza.
Rolling: Pastry is exactly like playdough and kids will love rolling out pastry or scones and rolling meatballs in their little hands.
Tips for cooking with kids at home
- Pick appropriate recipes and tasks for their age range.
- Make it safe by getting a stable box or stool for them to stand on.
- Wash hands.
- Give them an apron.
- Set out all your ingredients and utensils on the bench at the beginning. Explain how long it will be before it is ready.
- Keep dangerous things out of reach. Knives need to be placed to the back of the counter and pot handles need to be turned in when on the stove.
- Parents need to give clear information, in a kind but firm manner, that kitchens can be dangerous places and they have to follow the rules.
Why cooking with your kids is a must
There is a certain pleasure that adults gain from cooking and passing that onto your children is a gift. Teaching them in a calm, unrushed manner is a great way to introduce new foods to children and they are more likely to eat food that they have prepared themselves. It is also a little haven from the digital age and something every home has the space and need for. In short, teaching your kids how to cook is a great gift and they will look fondly back on the time they get to spend in the kitchen – but mainly it’s about spending time with YOU!