Get the Kids into the Kitchen
Cooking together is a great way to spark your child’s interest in food and healthy eating. It can even help the fussiest of eaters to try something new and interesting (as they tend to like their own cooking!)
You’ll not only get to make precious memories with your kids but you can enjoy eating together too. And don’t worry about the mess… part of the exercise will be teaching them how to clean up!
PLANNING – what to cook?
To get started, ask the kids to help you plan a meal. Get them to use their imaginations and creativity by helping to choose a recipe and plan the menu.
They might have a family favourite which is often a good place to start. What better time to hand down those family recipes like Nana’s famous scones, grandad’s Spaghetti Bolognese or your own family faves. Otherwise there’s lots of great cookbooks and websites with kid’s recipes. Pancakes, pizzas and tacos are a great place to start.
PREPARING – getting organised
Once you’ve decided what to cook, make a list of everything you’ll need and then have the kids find the items and ingredients in your kitchen. You can even make a game out of it – ‘okay, the first one to find the plain flour gets a prize…!”
Make sure you get out all the utensils you’ll need ahead of time – mixing bowls, chopping boards, spatulas, spoons and aprons. This will reduce confusion and keep you focussed on the cooking.
Next head to the pantry and fridge to find the ingredients. This is a great time to teach the kids about where food comes from (no… eggs and milk doesn’t come from cartons!) It’s fun to read the labels too and tell them what country and state the food comes from. You might even head to the garden to pick your own fresh herbs – parsley and rosemary are super easy to grow.
The preparation stage is where having an organised kitchen comes in handy because having dedicated places for everything will make cooking and cleaning up easier and more relaxing for everybody.
If you’ve got little ones and you plan to do lots of cooking, you might even want to dedicate a section of the kitchen especially for them – such as a low drawer. That way kitchen items are within their easy reach. And they can easily access the drawer to put items away when it comes to clean-up.
COOKING – let the fun begin!
Your kids’ confidence around food will grow as they learn new kitchen skills. So it’s important you give them their own tasks to do. The little ones can help by rinsing vegetables and fruit, sieving dry ingredients, stirring the pot, cutting cookies and sprinkling garnish.
Make sure they are working at the same height as you, so invest in a good step stool and they will be able see all the action and feel more involved. Get them to taste the food and describe it as you go along – it’s all about creating as much fun as possible and keeping them engaged.
Slightly older kids can help with measuring ingredients, kneading and rolling dough and peeling fruit and vegetables. They can learn how to set the oven to the correct temperature and how to set the timer.
Follow the instructions on the recipe but try to be in the moment. The great thing about cooking is that you use all your senses – taste, touch, sight, sound and smell. Encourage the kids to get hands-on and really experience each stage of the process.
CLEANING UP – the last (but very important) step
Apart from licking the spoon, kids can have fun cleaning up and learning about responsibility.
Try to clean up as much as possible as you go along (getting the kids to help wipe down benches and putting things in the sink or dishwasher). And then when your food is cooking, ask them to put unused ingredients away, sweep the kitchen floor and generally help to restore order!
If you’re cooking something that takes a while and you plan to eat it straight away, ask the kids to set the table (it also helps to pass the time). It’s a great opportunity to teach them where to place cutlery, plates and glasses. You might even decorate the table, if you have chosen a specific menu theme (eg a Mexican night or Pizza party).
Once your food is cooked, you can enjoy it straight away. Or if you’ve made baked goods, why not share them with your neighbours or the grandparents? There’s nothing nicer and more nurturing than giving friends and family homemade treats or taking something to their teacher.
As you can see, cooking is a wonderful way to spend time together and it’s great for kids’ mental and physical development. So bring the kids into the kitchen and you might discover that your family has its very own master-chef!
Contact Flexi for Kitchen Renovations in Perth.