There are probably those of you out there that relish is winter sports and snowmen, but for those of you that don’t (or those of you that do but enjoy a warm cozy day spend inside), you have to think of creative indoor activities to pass the time. For adults its simple, a cup of tea and a book can go a long way, but when you have bundles of joy that also happen to be balls of energy – a.k.a. children – sitting around will just not work.
What better way to use up some of that energy than to…you guessed it: COOK!
We know that cooking with kids can seem daunting to some parents. It can be messy, it requires a lot of oversight, and maybe perhaps, you just don’t know what to cook. We wanted to provide tips for parents new to cooking with kids in order to ease some of the natural stress that often comes with it.
1. Start simple. If it’s your first time in the kitchen with your child, don’t bother with the stove. Start with something simple that build skills, like a smoothie or a blended dip. The simple act of transforming ingredients into a dish is cooking!
- Have the child help you measure out ingredients using measuring cups and spoons.
- Let them hold the measuring cup/spoon while you pour the ingredient into it (2nd grade and below)
- OR have them pour the ingredient into the measuring cup/spoon that you are holding (3rd grade and above).
- OR let the child do both the holding and the pouring (5th grade and above)
2. There’s no use in crying over spilt milk! Cooking is messy and know what you’re getting yourself into. A little spillage is bound to happen (It happens to us Veggiecators all the time!)
3. Make cooking an active sport. OK – not really a sport, but make sure to engage their bodies throughout the process.
- We love to twist and shake our salt and pepper - and the kids love it too. Especially if your using the grinder style shakers!
- Wacking the garlic with your palm has two benefits: it gets the papery peel off the garlic and is a fun way for a child to show their strength.
4. Foster their excitement. As adults, we might take for granted how interesting the before and after images of the bowl or blender might look, but kids will think it’s pretty neat!
- If you’re making a smoothie with greens and a fruit, ask them what color they think the smoothie will be.
- If you’re making your own salad dressing, let them see the bowl before you mix it up (we bet the oil and vinegar will be fascinating!) and then show them the changes after it’s been whisked.
- If you do usea stove stop, let them observe how the veggies reduce in size or change in color.
5. Let the child pick the recipe. We are all about empowerment and allowing the child to pick something that they want really makes it their own.
- If the child is younger than 4th grade, choose three similar recipes and allow them to choose the one that sounds best.
- If the child is older than 5th grade, allow them to pick from a recipe book or website (with your guidance).
- If the child can read, no matter what age, give them the opportunity to read the ingredients and directions.
Visit our Recipe of the Month page for lots of simple, nourishing and delicious ideas!