Friday, April 9, 2021

Easy Tips For Cooking With Kids

 Lots of children really love to cook. Cooking is hands-on, an excuse to get messy, and there are lots of opportunities to get creative. Another bonus is the sense of achievement after they’ve finished cooking with you and created something. By cooking with your children, you can teach your children this life skill and you will be able to set them up for life. Combine cooking together with making their meal, and you’ve set them up for the day as well. Here are a few top tips to help you cook with your children, and to enjoy cooking together. 

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Take Your Time

Try to be patient when you’re cooking with children, especially young kids. You should expect the cooking process to take longer than it usually would when you cook with kids. Set aside extreme time for cooking, so you’re not stressed out trying to get dinner finished in a rush. Be aware that, especially when you cook with younger children, the journey is as much part of the fun as the finished result. Try not to lose patience, even if they’re being slow. 

Expect A Lot Of Mess

Cooking is a messy business, even for skilled cooks. When you get children involved, there will be even more mess. Try not to be annoyed about this. The mess is part of the fun. You can keep some of the mess under control by laying out a plastic tablecloth on the floor or putting a tray under their workstation to catch any dropped ingredients and make clean up easier when you’ve finished cooking. However, in the long run, you’ll have more fun if you just let the mess happen and then spend time clearing up the kitchen together at the end. 

Plan Ahead

Choose an appropriate recipe. There are lots of cookbooks aimed at cooking with children, so you could try one of these. Choose a recipe that isn’t too complicated. Make sure it’s one that will enjoy making (and eating when it’s finished). Check to make sure that you have all the ingredients and equipment that you will need ready to go. If you need to, you can do some preparations before you ask your child to join in the cooking with you. For example, you could do any fiddly chopping first and then ask them to help. Choose an interesting recipe to hold their attention. Baking is fun, but if you need to get the family’s evening meal ready, think about how your children might be able to help you to do that. 

Get Them Ready

Get the children ready for cooking. Dress them in clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty and that can be easily cleaned. Put an apron on them and you, and tie back long hair for both cleanliness and safety. 

Teach Children About Food Hygiene

One of the good lessons you can teach children while you cook together is how to cook in a safe and clean way. Food hygiene is very important. Make sure that they wash their hands before you start cooking. Make sure they wash their hands again between touching raw and cooked or ready-to-eat foods. Explain why it’s important to do this. 

Talk Through The Recipe

If you have older children, you can get them to read through the recipe and read out the steps beforehand. Together, get out all the ingredients and equipment that you will need for the recipe. Talk through the processes together and plan out which of you is going to do what. With younger children, you can just explain what you’re going to make together, and show them any pictures in the recipe to help them with understanding and a sense of purpose of what the finished result should be. 

Learning Opportunities

Cooking is a great way to teach children about food, nutrition, and food from different cultures. If you’re using unusual ingredients, like items from Tasmanian Gourmet Gifts you can expose your children to new flavours. Talk to your children about the ingredients they’re using, where those ingredients come from, the origins of the recipe, and the techniques that you’re going to be using. Cooking can also be a great way to learn about science, geography, and math through things like the weighing out of ingredients, in a practical way. Cooking together can also be good for fine motor skills and coordination as well.

Touching And Tasting

Touching and tasting different ingredients will make the experience more fun for your children. You can also encourage them to be more adventurous with their eating, and it’s also a good opportunity to teach your children which foods are safe to try raw and which need to be cooked first. Ask them to use a clean spoon to taste things, not their fingers or the spoons you’re using for stirring (at least not until you’ve finished cooking). 

Age And Ability

A lot of children’s recipes come with age guidelines, but don’t rely on them. Instead, take a look at your own child and recognise what they are capable of doing. After all, you know your children best and will be the best judge of what they are able to do. There are things that children of all ages and abilities will be able to do to help with the cooking, even if it’s just bringing you ingredients or messing around in the sink washing vegetables and containers will you and any older children can handle the chopping and cooking. Give them a task that they are able to do without too much difficulty, so they aren’t put off by the cooking being too hard instead of a fun way to spend time with you. 

Make It Fun

Children will learn to enjoy cooking if you can relax and concentrate on having fun with them in the kitchen. If you feel nervous about cooking with them, start with simple recipes that are still a good learning experience. Only step in when it’s absolutely necessary. Otherwise, try to let them enjoy themselves and create. 

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