This post is sponsored by Target . All words and opinions are my own.
We all know that cooking with kids offers a multitude of benefits. It can teach them patience, concentration, math skills and sequencing. It encourages creativity and boosts confidence. They are also learning an essential life skill which will help them to make healthy eating choices as adults. That’s all well and good, but to reap these benefits, you first have to actually get them into the kitchen – not always an easy task. Here are ten simple tips for encouraging kids to cook.
10 TIPS FOR ENCOURAGING KIDS TO COOK
1. Keep things simple. Children, especially toddlers and preschoolers can lose interest quickly if a recipe is too long or complicated. Choose short, simple kid-friendly recipes to keep them engaged. 4-Ingredients KIDS has hundreds of fun and delicious kid-friendly recipes, all with four or less ingredients. It’s also a good idea to keep tasks age appropriate. If you are preparing a dinner that is beyond their age or skill set, there’s always something they can do like washing lettuce, filling a saucepan with water, or sifting flour.
4 Ingredients for Kids and white owl dish both from Target
Cream melamine colander from Target
2. Invite your child to help with every stage of the family meals. This includes meal planning for the week ahead, giving them their own shopping list for the grocery store, and setting the dinner table.
3. Grow your own. Get kids involved from the ground up – literally! We have a small vegetable patch in our back garden. Over the years R has grown his own tomatoes, carrots, lettuce and celery. He is so excited to water them every day and watch them grow.He learns so much in the process and it really encourages him to try new foods when he has seen it grow, harvested it and then cooked it himself. If starting a back yard vegetable garden is not a possibility, try growing fresh herbs – they look lovely in planters on the kitchen window sill.
4. Kid friendly tools and equipment. R has his own apron, set of measuring cups, spatula, whisk and other cooking utensils. The owl spatula and brightly coloured measuring cups from Target homewares are particular favourites. They are fun and playful and having his own tools encourages him to get involved.
5. Try something new. Watch cooking shows together (R is a big fan of Masterchef!), look for recipes online and in magazines and encourage your child to make a list of new recipes they would like to try. You could keep a second list celebrating the new flavours and ingredients that you have tried together.
6. Have fun. Keep things light and get the kids laughing. We recently made tapioca pudding and there was no way R was going to try it. We called it “frogs eyes” and voila! He was giggling happily and suddenly wanted to try it.
7. Encourage their curiosity. Kids are naturally curious and inquisitive and there is so much to be discovered in the kitchen. Encourage them to use all of their senses to make new discoveries – the smell of fresh herbs, the sound of an egg sizzling in the fry pan, the feel of bread dough, the taste of the food as they decide if it needs more seasoning, and watching ingredients being transformed into complete meals.
8. Make them feel special. If your child helps with dinner, try naming it after them. It could be “Amanda’s special fried rice” or “Joshua’s spagetti bolognaise”. It’s a sure fire way to boost their confidence and get them back in the kitchen the next time that meal is on the menu.
Ikat table runner, blue dinner plate and white heart shaped plate all from Target
9. Embrace the mess and mistakes. Cooking can be messy at the best of times – add kids to the mix and there’s bound to be a few spills. Just go with it. If more sifted flour ends up on your kitchen counter than in the mixing bowl, just breath, make a joke and show your child how to wipe it up. Let go of perfection – it’s not about producing gourmet meals here. So the meal didn’t turn out quite the way you expected? Thank your child for their help and praise them for their efforts.
10. Quality time. This is possibly the most important tip of all. Cooking with kids is a great opportunity for quality family time. The connections that can be made from creating family meals together will provide not only life long skills, but life long memories.
What’s your best tip for encouraging kids to cook?
Looking for more simple play ideas? We’d love for you to join us on Facebook , Pinterest or Twitter where you will find lots of fun activities for kids to play, learn, create and explore!
Don’t miss a post! Subscribe to One Perfect Day and our activities will be delivered straight to you inbox.
Enter your email address:Delivered by FeedBurner