Sunday, March 23, 2008

Cooking With Your Kids - Fun And Useful At Every Age

It’s never too early to get your kids involved in the kitchen. There are different age appropriate family activities you can involve your kids in that happen in the kitchen. There can be many benefits to spending time cooking with your kids.

Why Cook With Your Kids?

Cooking can be a great family activity. Kids love to create and the process of food preparation is very creative. Cooking activities can be very imaginative and help your kids find productive things to do at home. Teach kitchen safety and supervise them and you might find that you all have a lot of fun together.

Toddler Activities in the Kitchen

Toddlers love to help stir things and pass you things. They can also help to build sandwiches, put raw toppings on pizzas and help you decorate cooled cakes and cupcakes. Don’t stress about the mess, have fun with it! Wearing old clothes and using a drop cloth such as an old tablecloth can save you mess and stress.

Preschooler Activities in the Kitchen

Preschoolers love kitchen activities such as cracking eggs and decorating just about anything. Your little ones might even be great at helping you spread butter, jam or peanut butter on bread or icing on a cake. Use a rounded spreader instead of a sharp knife of course and supervise. Your child will love the activity! Preschoolers can be very helpful with areas such as greasing the pan and placing the muffin liners into the cups as well.

School-Aged Kitchen Activities

Your 6 to ten year old can really be a great help in the kitchen. Get them to help follow recipes with you by measuring ingredients, stirring and whipping as well as using some of the safer kitchen gadgets like blenders and mixers. They can often make toast or safely remove items from the microwave for you as well as work with items at the stove on lower heat when supervised. Simmering vegetables or making boxed macaroni and cheese with your supervision is a great idea as kids approach the tween years.

Cooking: Fun and Productive

Kids can be not only a great help with prep and cleanup but this can be a great time to chat with your kids. Doing things together gives you more time to communicate with your kids and from a nutrition perspective, get your kids to help you choose healthy meal choices and your cooking time together can be a great bonding and learning experience as well. Having your kids help you prepare nutritious meals will help their eating habits as well because they’ll be more apt to taste something they made even if it is made with healthy ingredients they may have otherwise rejected. Cooking and homemaking skills are also important as kids get older because you'll be teaching them life skills they will use when they eventually leave the safety and comfort of the nest as well.

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