It can often be a daunting task with the amount of mess and time required to cook with kids, but read through my top tips on cooking with kids and they can gain a valuable life skill as well as spending quality time together. Children as young as two can help prepare some nutritious food that they will hopefully eat and have fun in the process!
1. Allow plenty of time – Don’t be in a rush, allow plenty of time. Spend extra time exploring new foods so they learn as they go! If you don’t have much time then even simple jobs like podding peas, chopping vegetables or helping to choose a new fruit or vegetable and prepare at home with the evening meal are a great way to invest a little bit of time.
2. Prepare for mess – Use a plastic mess mat or tablecloth under the table to easily clear away spills and mess at the end.
3. Plan your recipe – Age appropriately and what your child is capable of. The younger the child the simplier the recipe should be. Choose something with few ingredients like fruits and yoghurt for a smoothie. You don’t need a kids recipe book, simple recipes can be found in cookbooks or adapted such as soups, salads, dips, smoothies and pancakes.
4. Select equipment appropriately – Think about suitability for there age. Basic equipment is fine such as mixing bowls and wooden spoons. For more tricky tasks there is child friendly equipment available such as rotary whisks or graters and even safe cutting knives.
5. Hygiene – Always get them to wash their hands before and after cooking or between handling raw and cooked food. Pull back sleeves and wear an apron. They will love dressing up like a chef!
6. Tidying up – Make it fun. It is important to teach them tidying up too! They may enjoy stacking up dirty equipment and splashing it into a washing up bowl.
7. Recipe steps – If you have a recipe you can explain what your making, how it will be made and show any pictures. You can also get out the ingredients, place on a tray and look at them all together, especially if it is something new. Older children may be able to read through some steps.
8. Learning new skills – There are so many skills children learn through cooking. Through science (cooking processes), ingredients (where foods come from), maths (weighing and measuring). Not to mention improving fine motor skills and co-ordination.
9. Trying new foods – If you have a fussy eater then cooking with them is a great way to get them to try new foods. Also don’t worry if they don’t like them- it is a case of try and try again. You can get them to touch, smell and taste new ingredients before they cook with them.
10. Take a class –Regular cookery classes are run in term time by Little Bites Cookery. These are a great way to get started as everything is provided and all the planning is taken care of. They are also taught by a qualified Home Economist and Nutritionist. For further info please see www.littlebitescookery.com, e: firstname.lastname@example.org