Initiating your children to prepare food is an easy way to develop their interest in food and allow them to discover new flavors. If they actively participate in preparing a meal, they’ll generally be more willing to try less familiar foods.
Turn this chore into a game! This will make all the difference when they grow up. Here are a few tips on how to make this activity a fun one.
1. Basic rules
The kitchen is an environment that requires close supervision. You need to be sure you have enough time when cooking with your kids. Your patience is needed in order to enjoy this activity. It always takes longer to cook with kids, and you’ll have to deal with some mess–this is simply unavoidable!
Before starting, always remind your children to properly wash their hands before handling food, as well as afterwards. Don’t leave the kitchen (or your mini-chef) for a second, and give your kids simple, quick tasks to keep their interest.
2. Age-appropriate jobs
Starting from the age of 2 to 4, children are already able to start helping out with cooking. They can do simple jobs like getting ingredients from the pantry, washing vegetables, putting dirty dishes in the sink and pouring ingredients you’ve already measured out into a bowl.
After the age of 6, they are already much more agile. They can do more complex jobs, such as pouring liquids into a mug or peeling vegetables with a peeler. They can also take a few initiatives on their own. Don’t hold back on praise!
3. Have kids help out choosing recipes
Have them look through recipe books with photos and ask them to choose a few they look. Then, help them make their final choice by reading the list of ingredients with them, the time needed and how to follow the recipe. Also, occasionally offer new recipes to familiarize them with new foods. Don’t forget to ask them to help write up a grocery list and with grocery-shopping itself!
4. Prepare the kitchen before your mini-chef arrives
You should clean all working surfaces, take the ingredients out, and prepare the equipment needed before your mini-chef arrives. It’s important to use safe utensils depending on your kids’ age and dexterity. Once you’re ready to begin, invite them to read the recipe with you so they can learn the terms used in cooking.
Depending on their age, kids’ interest in cooking may be short. This is normal. Don’t force them: it’s better to let them learn at their own pace.
5. Trying the final result
Don’t hesitate to thank your children for their help, to encourage them to present their creation to the entire family, and to taste it—remembering never to force anything. Have them describe the flavors found in the dish and ask if it reminds them of other recipes.
To help your mini-chef better describe their creations, play this fun learning game to identify the 4 basic flavors found in food: www.patiencefruitco.com/en/the-patience-club/discoveries/tasting-exercise/
Learning how to cook is an activity that will serve children throughout their lives. It’s an excellent way to familiarize them with foods, teach them about healthy eating, and pass on family traditions to a new generation. They’ll also be extremely proud of eating something they made themselves!