Cooking with kids is not just about ingredients, recipes, and cooking. It’s about harnessing imagination, empowerment, and creativity.
– Guy Fieri
I am thrilled by the prospect of the upcoming summer, warmer temperatures and gorgeous, gorgeous greenery around. The walks in the park, the bike rides on trails, the crisp blue skies, no school, no rush hours, late nights and get-togethers and barbecues – these are a few of my favorite things about summer. What are yours?
One of the big challenges for parents is to keep the kiddo(s) entertained. Now, you can turn the TV or your mobile into an electronic babysitter and have no worries at all about your kids. But, if you are not too much into the TV or electronics thing, and you would like to make use of this summer to teach a lesson or two in cooking skills, you might find this useful.
Cooking with kids can be extremely traumatic if not planned well. The recipe has to be simple but tasty and colorful too. What I have done here is compile a list of dishes (with varying difficulties) from this blog that you can prepare with your kids, that would get them interested in cooking. These are pretty simple dishes, which your kids can prepare themselves with a little bit of help from you. Make the kids feel comfortable when they are cooking. Do not try to be a helicopter parent, but never, I repeat, never leave the kids unattended. Kitchen accidents can really go out of control. Be with the kids when they are cooking and enjoy the process together. I bet this will be something they would cherish for a very long time.
Well, let’s see what you can do to get them interested. If your kiddos have watched you work in the kitchen, they will surely be curious to know what you are doing and may even start imitating the actions. Slowly, give them age-appropriate chores and encourage them to get more involved. With busy school life and all other stuff, this might not be your priority, but you can cook with kids during breaks from school.
I have made a lot of mistakes while trying to get my Sonshine interested in cooking. My disappointed look when he spilled the vanilla essence or me sternly telling him to watch out for his fingers while chopping – did not help. What helped me finally was leaving him in-charge but guiding him, just being there.
A Few Tips:
- Pick a day when you and your kids are relatively free from other activities. The cooking process will be slow when the kids are learning and then, (trust me on this), there will be tons of cleaning up to do.
- Plan in advance and give them a few ideas to look at and make a decision about what they want to make.
- Print out the recipe(s). Let them read and follow the recipe.
- Help them make a list of ingredients required to prepare the dish. Look into the pantry to see if you already have the ingredients or else make a list of things that they would need to buy.
- Take them grocery shopping (ooh, fun!!), let them compare prices, do a price check and pick what they think is the best price.
- Now when it comes to actual cooking, be with your kiddos all the time in the immediate vicinity. But don’t be a control freak either. If you are working with more than one kid, try suggesting age-appropriate chores. Discuss the kitchen safety measures and time management. Teach them how to chop, peel, mix and stir. There will be spills, and tons and tons of cleaning up to do. Don’t worry, help them clean the kitchen out. Appreciate everybody involved.
- Guide them throughout the process but make them feel that they are in charge.
Simple Recipes You Can Cook With Kids
Enjoy and cherish the dishes they make. Click pictures, show them off, share them with family.
Now, there will be mistakes and the dish will not resemble anything like you had planned. But I am sure you will be happy to see a kid beaming with joy and pride at the end of the cooking session. Enjoy!
What have you cooked with your kids today?