Yes! Teach Your Kids to Cook Early! Cooking with your Kids has So Many Healthy Benefits!
3 Kitchen Basics for Kids
- Safety Skills – how to use a knife properly, how to peel a potato, caution with boiling or hot water.
- How to follow a recipe – following a recipe from start to finish and how to read a recipe through before starting to cook.
- How to handle food properly – never touch food with unclean hands. How to crack an egg. How to clean food properly.
Children like to mimic their parents. When toddlers want to start helping in the kitchen, encourage them by teaching basic safety, how to follow a recipe, and how to handle food properly.
Preparing foods as a family takes the mystery out kitchen tools, nurtures an interest in helping with family tasks, and can become a math, reading and nutrition lesson.
Unless you live among the rich & famous, and can afford a home chef, it’s so important to have cooking skills to remain healthy in life. Evidence shows that eating fast food and take-out is not a healthy life-long option. Cooking at home is.
Want your kids to eat healthier? Teach them how to cook healthy meals and their love of fruits and vegetables will grow leaps and bounds.
Spend Quality Time With Your Kids
Quality time together – We are always looking for ways to spend quality time with our children and cooking together is an ideal way to accomplish this.
Life skills – Learning important life skills gives us a better quality of life in the long haul. Learning things like good manners and respect, along with reading, writing and math are important parts of life, but so is learning how to cook.
Our good or poor health depends largely on the quality of foods we consume, so learning to cook healthy can impact the rest of their lives.
Never Waste Food: Getting children involved in all aspects of cooking at a young age, also teaches them the value food. Food is expensive and should not be wasted if at all possible.
Proper Food Storage: Part of the cooking lesson should be how to properly store leftover foods, so it’s not wasted. Also how to eat leftovers is a great way to teach children that leftovers can be delicious. So many adults these days refuse to eat leftovers and that leads to more and more food waste.
So, What Does it Take To Teach your Kids Kitchen Confidence?
Give them small jobs to do where they can win. Offer a smile and words of encouragement for a job well done. Hand a child a banana and a butter knife and let them slice the banana! The more they participate in all aspects of cooking, the more confidence they will have in their ability to be a good cook!
Cooking starts with recipes. Learn about measurements and work on reading skills by looking through a cookbook together. Let the children turn the pages and read the measurements out loud. This encourages fine motor skills, reading comprehension and oral skills.
To work on dexterity, have a plastic set of measuring cups and spoons handy for the children to hold and grab while learning about measurements.
Kids Can Help in The Kitchen by:
- Stirring Cold Things
- Washing Fruits and Vegetables
- Measuring (get colorful measuring cups)
- Cutting Simple Things with a dull knife
- Using a Potato Masher
- Grease the Cake Pan
- Using A Wire Wisk to Beat Eggs
- Stir Jello
- Peeling Fruit
- Peeling a Potato
- Grating Cheese
- Making Toast
- Buttering Bread
Start You Own In-Home Cooking School For Your Kids
Start your own in-home cooking school and make it fun for everyone!
Cooking is a great way to learn the importance of good food hygiene. Start your home cooking class with a lesson on hand washing and why it’s important.
- Cleanliness in the Kitchen
Since young children get their hands into everything, the first lesson should focus on cleanliness in the kitchen while cooking.
Show children how to wash their hands with soap and water and how to rinse. Make up a favorite song to use each time you wash that lasts at least 20 seconds.
- Always wash your hands before and after preparing food.
- Always wash kitchen counters before and after preparing food.
- Scrub the kitchen sink before and after preparing family meals.
- Show them how to wash fresh fruits and vegetables by using a vegetable brush or a bottled produce spray.
- Take a short field trip outside to a backyard garden or local plant nursery to show the kids where food grows and why it needs to get washed before cooking.
- After washing fresh fruits together, make a fresh fruit snack.
Be safe and make sure you have a stool for your child to safely stand on so they can reach things.
Buy cute aprons and chef hats to make it clean and fun.
From there teach the importance of using different knives and different cutting boards for meats and vegetables. Never cut fresh meat on the same cutting board as you would slice fresh vegetables.
Older children can learn how to safely handle raw meats.
Have printed recipes so everyone can follow along. Even those that can’t read yet will be proud to have a copy of the recipe. Make it fun!
Start by laying out all the ingredients that the recipe calls for.
If the recipe calls for red or green pepper you might point out that these vegetables contain lots of vitamin C to keep their body healthy.
Have everyone get involved in setting the table and then eat together. Kids will be more likely to try whatever you have cooked so choose the recipe wisely.
Clean up should be fun and involve everyone. Although dishwashers have replaced the joys of “you wash & I’ll dry,” there are still many chores that kids can enjoy doing together.
Start off by making delicious french toast for breakfast. Lay out the bread, butter, eggs, milk, vanilla and cinnamon. While kids enjoy the taste of cinnamon, point out that cinnamon is one of the most healthiest spices we can use and is filled with protective antioxidants.
Let kids learn how to gently crack the eggs into a bowl and add the rest of the ingredients, mixing it all together with a wire whisk. Next show how easy it is to dip the bread into the egg mixture, covering both sides, and then cooking in a heated skillet.
A Few Things That Will Be Learned
- Solving math problems
- Reading in Sequence – what comes 1st?
- Problem solving and thinking in steps
- Reading skills
- Where food grows or comes from
Help your children to become the healthiest adults they can be. Teaching them to be self-sufficient is such a precious gift that they will have forever.
Cooking Lesson with Muffins
Prepare a simple recipe with the children to practice basic cooking movements, such as stirring, measuring and pouring. Try making muffins. Let the children use a quick movement to whisk eggs. Then show them how to slowly move the spoon to mix batter. Teach gentle folding techniques by adding blueberries to the batter. Work together to fill the muffin tins. Fill one of the tins to the top and another with just a dab of batter. After the treat bakes, show the children how measuring is important, or you will only get a tiny bite of muffin.
Safety and Cooking
Ask the children to help prepare a homemade pizza for dinner. Show them how to gently pat the dough into the pan. Let them feel the temperature of the dough and explain the cool feeling of chilled dough. Walk past the pre-heating oven and explain when something gets hot it should never get touched.
While chopping vegetable pizza toppings explain to the children that some cooking tasks are only for grown ups, such as using the knife, or putting the pizza in the oven. And, that kids do some tasks as good as grown ups, such as sprinkling cheese and vegetables on the pizza.
Give this simple kid-size pizza recipe a go:
1 bagel, sliced
2 Tbsp. pizza sauce
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
8 pepperoni slices
2 fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 Tbsp. green peppers, chopped
Have the child carefully open a pre-sliced bagel and place both halves with the flat side up on a cookie sheet. Divide the pizza sauce in half and spread equal amounts on each bagel half using the back of a spoon. Let the child arrange the pepperoni slices and vegetables on the bagel halves and sprinkle the cheese on top. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the cheese melts. Makes two mini pizzas.
EASY PEPPERONI BREAD FOR KIDS
1 loaf frozen bread dough
6-8 slices of provolone cheese
1 Tbsp. butter or margarine, melted
1/4 c. fresh parmesan cheese
1 package pepperoni
dried parsley flakes
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Thaw the frozen bread dough on the counter. Do not allow it to thoroughly thaw to the rising stage.
With a rolling pin on a floured surface, roll the dough out flat, about 1/2 inch thick, in the shape of a rectangle. Cut the cheese into strips and place on the dough. Cover the cheese with pepperoni (the amount depends on you!). Start at the short end of the dough and roll into a log. Fold the ends under.
Place in a greased loaf pan. Brush the top of the loaf with the melted butter, and sprinkle with a little garlic salt and parsley. Top with the parmesan cheese.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Cool 10 minutes (in pan), remove and slice. Your chef will be very proud!
More Easy Recipe Ideas to Cook with Kids
Cooking with kids is a great way to teach them new skills, encourage creativity, and spend quality time together. Here are some easy recipes that are perfect for cooking with kids:
Homemade pizza – Start with pre-made pizza dough or English muffins and let your kids add their favorite toppings. Set up a toppings bar with things like shredded cheese, sliced veggies, and pepperoni.
Fruit salad – Let your kids help you wash and chop fruit like strawberries, kiwi, grapes, and melon. Mix everything together in a large bowl and serve with whipped cream or yogurt.
Quesadillas – Set out tortillas, shredded cheese, and cooked chicken or beans. Let your kids build their own quesadillas by adding their favorite toppings.
Pasta salad – Boil some pasta and toss it with chopped veggies like tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers. Add some Italian dressing and let your kids mix everything together.
Pancakes – Mix up some pancake batter and let your kids help you pour it onto a griddle or skillet. Set out toppings like berries, whipped cream, and syrup.
Smoothies – Blend together frozen fruit, yogurt, and juice for a healthy and refreshing snack. Let your kids choose the fruit and help you blend everything together.
Trail mix – Set out bowls of nuts, dried fruit, and chocolate chips. Let your kids mix everything together and package it up for a fun and easy snack.
Cooking with kids can be messy, but it’s also a lot of fun. These easy recipes are a great way to get your kids involved in the kitchen and teach them some valuable skills.
How to Get Your Kids to Eat More Fruit
Getting Your Kids to Eat More Vegetables
School Lunch Ideas for Kids
Cookbooks For Kids:
Buy children their own age-appropriate cookbooks and display them proudly. Want to get kids excited about cooking? Buy them their own cookbooks that they can put their name on and have their own unique favorite recipes.
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