There are many reasons why parents should be cooking with kids. Firstly, it’s a great activity to do together, since there a lot of fun and easy things you can whip up. They make a lot of mess anyway, so why not do it while you explore cooking ideas for kids together? It also happens to be highly educational. Cooking classes for kids is becoming quite popular these days since parents realize the things they can learn in these classes. Having children occupied in food preparation teaches them reading skills, math skills, safety, and creativity, plus it helps train them with responsibility and awareness. To start easy cooking with kids of any age, a good place to start is with a great recipe book you can either borrow at a library or purchase from a bookstore. Enhance their skills by enrolling them in cooking classes as well.
Tips & tricks to get your child involved with what you’re cooking at mealtime could be simple tasks that he or she can do such as pouring flour into the bowl, spreading butter with a butter knife, stirring batter when baking, or just cracking eggs.
Also involve them when it is time to clean up. A little broom, spray bottle with vinegar and water, and some vigorous music can make clean up a fun time too. Other tips and tricks you can also do are special cooking projects with your child, like baking whole wheat bread and allowing them to shape and mold the dough. Making biscuits and pizzas are also reliable family activities that will keep children engrossed. Whatever you do, just make sure you observe these safety tips when cooking with kids.
- Children below 12 years-old who use the stove need supervision.
- Clean eggs before cracking and don’t allow them to lick batter with raw eggs to avoid salmonella contamination.
- Always direct pot handles to the back of the stove so they don’t accidentally hit them.
Cooking is a cool skill to have, even if it can be difficult to teach for some. Begin by teaching your child these essential cooking skills below, and with a pinch of patience, you could soon have a chef-to-be in the family without having to spend big on cooking classes. Here are some basic skills applicable to teach tots below 5 years-old.
- Kneading and rolling out dough with a rolling pin
- Cracking eggs
- Decorating cakes or biscuits
- Buttering bread
- Making shapes with cookie cutters
- How to use a sieve
- Slicing soft fruit or vegetables with a dull knife
- Mashing potato with a masher
- Peeling vegetables using a vegetable peeler
- Grating cheese
- Crushing biscuits for pies or non-cook chocolate recipes
- Crushing garlic using a garlic press
- How to grease and line cake tins
- Mashing bananas with a fork for banana bread/cake
Tips & Tricks When Cooking with Your Children
1. Carefully and wisely choose your recipes
If your apprentice is quite young then choose a recipe that is simple like a biscuit recipe or a fresh fruit salad. Use a recipe that does not take long or is too complicated. As they get older, younglings can concentrate longer and you can progress onto more complicated dishes and ultimately whole meals.
2. Have a plan and anticipate things
Be sure you have all the ingredients before you start a dish. If you can, devote a whole day to cooking activities or classes. Get your children involved in choosing a recipe, buying the ingredients, cooking or baking and eating it, of course. Children are more likely to eat foods that they prepared themselves.
3. Allocate generous amounts of time
Don’t presume you can work quickly when you have an under-aged, novice helper in the kitchen. Chances are it will take a while so don’t squeeze cooking classes in a tight schedule. You will just stress yourself.
4. There will be a guaranteed mess
Expect some or a lot of mess even with the tidiest tots. Accept this and you will have more fun and be a more effective mentor, instead of obsessing over the clutter. You can always make the clean up another learning activity. Don’t forget aprons for everybody.
5. Bring them on a grocery trip
You might take each ingredient for granted and how and where they come from, but your little ones really don’t know. Your children may be astonished to learn just where their food comes from, and how it is made. A visit to a local farmers market, or better still a real farm where you can choose fresh fruit and vegetables will educate them to the variety of foods available. Think of this as pre-cooking classes.
Now here are some all time favorites and absolutely fun things to cook with the little ones. Like we said, keep things simple but interesting to get them hooked.
Bacon and Potato Pizza
1 pound of pizza dough at room temperature
Some cornmeal for the baking sheets
8 ounces of grated Havarti
1/2 pound of very thinly sliced red potatoes
4 sliced scallions
4 strips of uncooked bacon cut into half inch pieces
Black pepper and kosher salt
First pre-heat your oven to 475° F. Next, shape the dough into 4 rounds and place them on 2 cornmeal-dusted baking sheets. Dividing them evenly, top the rounds with the potatoes, Havarti, scallions, and bacon. Season with ¼ teaspoon each with kosher salt and pepper. Bake until the crust turns to a golden brown, or for 18-20 minutes.
Painted Toast (Preschool Recipe)
5 colors food coloring
Fill up 5 glasses with a 1/4 cup of milk. Get your 5 colors of food colorings and in every glass place 5 drops of food coloring in the milk and stir to mix in colors. Dip a clean small paint brush into the food coloring. Take your piece of bread and paint a face, picture or anything you wish. Place your bread into a toaster and toast normally. Butter to taste and watch your them enjoy their bread.
At the heart of cooking with kids is to make it a positive experience. Make sure you all have fun and learn in the process when you break your kids into the kitchen. Cooking classes are quite popular nowadays to people of all ages, so you can even invest in them and watch a master chef evolve right before your eyes!