Kids love to eat as much as adults do. And kids also love spending time with their parents. So it’s only natural that when you combine the two you get an activity that kids are wild about–cooking!
Preparing meals, snacks, and desserts with your children is a great way to bond, while teaching them important skills that will last throughout their lifetime.
The best part about cooking with your kids is that it’s fun! The food you prepare together doesn’t have to be fancy or complicated. The possibilities are as endless as their imaginations!
Not sure how to get started? We’ve got some simple ideas that will have them cooking in no time.
Start them young. Toddlers love to eat, so it makes sense that they have an interest in preparing their food. Spending time with your children in the kitchen is fun (it also keeps them out of trouble when you’re preparing a meal). Remember that attitude is everything to kids, so if you make meal preparations fun, you children will want to be involved.
Start with the basics. There are so many valuable lessons to learn in the kitchen. All children should learn the importance of washing their hands and cleaning up their own messes. They can also help by setting the table with plates, cups, cutlery, and napkins. Put younger children to work washing fruits and vegetables under running water, placing food items into a bowl or on a plate, using a measuring cup to pour ingredients, and mixing with a spoon or spatula. Older kids can learn how to pour drinks, use a knife, and cook over heat.
The kitchen is an amazing learning environment. While cooking with you, children will learn math skills, practice fine-motor skills (chopping, stirring, sifting), learn about nutrition, basic cooking techniques, fire safety, knife safety, and good hygiene.
Show them where their food comes from. Shop at your local farmers’ markets. Visit local farms like Poplar Ridge Farm and Fishing Creek Creamery so kids can experience the wonders of a working farm. Grow vegetables in your garden. At the grocery store, teach your children how to read labels and pick the freshest products.
Discover new recipes together. Expose your your kids to a wide variety of foods. Read cookbooks together, look at recipes online, or watch your favorite cooking show. Give kids a say in the menu planning. Check out these resources for children:
- Recipes & Cooking-Kids Health
- Kid-Friendly Recipes-allrecipes.com
- Healthy Recipes Kids Can Make-Food Network
- 50 Family Recipes Kids Actually Like-Real Simple
Check out tasting bars and chef classes. Share your love for food and cooking with your children by taking them to tasting bars and chef classes. Dogwood has an amazing tasting bar where you can sit together and interact with the chef and kitchen crew while watching them cook.
Make meals a family affair. Once you’ve spent the time cooking together, sit down as a family and enjoy your meal. These are the memories that your kids will cherish and pass down to their own families when they are grown.