Experimenting in the kitchen with your children is not only fun for both you and your child but time well spent together learning a lifelong skill. Some of you may think cooking is a chore while others find it relaxing and consider it a wonderful hobby. Children find cooking to be exciting and interesting even if it goes terribly wrong and one mixes up one ingredient for another!!
Speaking from personal experience, I think baking cookies with my daughter using recipes that were written in my late grandmother’s handwriting is quite special. It brings back fond memories of my childhood that I can share and it also helps to continue those all too important family traditions/customs and celebrate our culture in our home.
There are a variety of ways children can contribute in the kitchen, such as washing vegetables, peeling and cutting, shredding lettuce for a salad, plucking grapes, juicing fruit, mixing ingredients and of course taste testing. Even the smallest in our community enjoys the opportunity to whip up a batch of muffins to share with their friends. For the younger child, pre-measured ingredients are a great idea so you can read through the recipe together and add the ingredients one at a time to be mixed. As the children grow and their skills develop, more responsibility and opportunities can be given until one day they are making and serving you dinner!
It is essential to provide an area where the children have access to the kitchen counter whether it be a stool to safely stand on or a learning tower. They also need child size tools and supplies to clean up.
By getting children of any age involved in the kitchen, we observe the children making healthy food choices, trying new foods, and contributing to the functioning of the family. Children enjoy the amazing sense of accomplishment when given opportunities to create and grow. This, in turn, boosts their self confidence and self esteem while providing drive for further independence.
Prepare yourself…it may get messy, but it’s worth it!!