Involving the little ones in the kitchen is not only great for spending time together, it’s a wonderful way to learn, too! Here are some tips for cooking with kids to make the most of the experience.
Sharing the kitchen with kids is a great way to teach them about food and how to cook. Here are some tips for what you can do differently when cooking with kids.
Take your time
After a busy day it’s tempting to want to get dinner sorted as quickly as possible. However, when enlisting the help of your little ones, slow is best. So, don’t rush the process and take your time going through the recipe, preparing the ingredients and making the meal so it’s a fun (not stressful!) experience for the little ones.
Expect a mess
Let’s not kid ourselves, cooking with children is a messy business – and that’s okay! Be prepared for things to be a bit messier than you’re used to. Try not to hover and clean up after every little spill. Cleaning up afterwards can be another great bonding exercise and an educational experience equipping kids with valuable skills.
Talk through the recipe
Before you start, talk through the recipe with your little helper(s). Set out all the ingredients, allocate tasks and plan who’s going to do what when. That way you and the kids are all prepared for what’s to come and can confidently cook together.
Teach as you go
Make cooking a fun educational experience by explaining the different techniques, as well as ingredient origins and facts. That way, in addition to developing their fine motor skills and coordination, kids will gain insight into the process and learn more about food while they cook.
*Want to teach the little ones more about reducing food waste? Check out our blog post about Food Scraps You Can Actually Eat for some ideas of what you can do to utilise offcuts.
Older children can take on more complicated tasks but what about the wee ones? We’ve got some ideas. Let them help to chop softer veggies by using a butter or a plastic knife. Or get them to help to coat food (when applicable) or add spices along the way. In some instances they can help to measure and mix together ingredients. There are lots of ways for little foodies to get involved.