Cooking with kids is messy, but it is so great for everyone involved. It gives them a sense of accomplishment and pride that spills over into other areas of their lives. They learn math skills, science and the importance of healthy eating. And, my favorite part of cooking with kids is that they are more likely to eat things they had a hand in making.
Most children love getting involved in the kitchen, so why not take advantage of their enthusiasm today?
Here are some tips for cooking with kids to help you get started:
- Choose simple recipes that don’t require many ingredients or steps. Healthy muffins, smoothies and salads are great places to start. These recipes will help your child learn how different foods combine to make something delicious, while also teaching them important skills like measuring and chopping.
- Set your child up for success by providing them with age-appropriate tasks. As they grow, you can increase the level of difficulty and complexity of the tasks they take on.
- Next, safety first. Make sure your child has grown enough to see over the countertop and reach the stove without standing on a stool or chair. A good rule of thumb: Your child is ready when his or her head reaches your waistline. Also, use kid-safe knives with rounded tips and only let them cut soft foods such as bananas or avocados (even then, they should only do this with supervision).
- Be patient — it can take time for youngsters to master new skills! You may need to show your child how to do things more than once before they get the hang of it. Stay positive and encourage your child as much as you can
- The earlier you start cooking with your children, the more skills they will learn and the more they will enjoy it. You can even start when they are babies by letting them play in their highchair while you are cooking.