Tips to Cooking with Kids: 5 Ideas to Start Now
Cooking with kids can be a wonderful experience, but it can also be a bit daunting before you start. You might wonder how you can cook with children of different ages at the same time, or how you can keep the kids motivated to complete the entire dish. We’ve got the lowdown on how to have fun and contain the mess, with some health and hygiene tips thrown in for good measure.
Choose a recipe together
The kids (and you!) will enjoy cooking together much more if you’re all interested in the dish you’re making. Biscuits, cakes and pizzas are all popular options that children typically love to make. To make life easier for yourself, give the kids the choice of two or three recipes. That way you can be sure they are dishes that are suitable for their ages, and that you’ve got the ingredients!
Take it in small steps
Children love being given a challenge that they’re able to meet, so break down the method into small sections to help them build their confidence step by step. They’ll learn that it takes lots of different stages to create one whole thing. It also helps them concentrate in short bursts, rather than long sections.
If you’re cooking with more than one child, then it’s a great idea to give them individual tasks. This is particularly useful when cooking with children of different ages and abilities. They can each feel that they’re achieving their own parts and contributing to the team effort.
Heap on the praise
Kids respond well to encouragement and praise, and cooking provides so many chances for them to enjoy this feeling of self-confidence. Congratulate them every time they follow an instruction or complete a task. That will help give them the momentum to keep on going. They might even return the favour and throw some praise your way as well – we can but hope!
Cooking can be a messy business at the best of times, but when you add children into the mix (not literally!) then it usually gets even messier. This can be a great part of the fun for the kids, although you might not enjoy this aspect quite so much. You can help contain the mess while keeping it light-hearted by setting out some rules at the beginning.
When the kids know what they can and can’t do (food fights are off the table), then everyone will be more likely to be able to relax about it. There’ll also be less mess. Make clearing up easier by laying out a washable tablecloth and working on a large surface.
Clean up together
Talking of clearing up, cooking is the perfect opportunity to get the kids involved in cleaning too. They’ll learn about how to keep surfaces clean, how to wash up mixing bowls, and why it’s important to do this.
This is the perfect opportunity to give them some manageable information about health and hygiene, and what they can do to keep themselves, and everyone else, safe. Washing hands before you start is an easy way to start the process.
With these five ideas you can enjoy your cooking time with the kids, and create some great dishes – and memories – together. Enjoy!