Cooking with kids is always a lot of fun and offers many benefits. Even small children can be introduced to helping in the kitchen and learn how to cook safely.
Cooking With Kids – Fun For Everybody
Even the youngest ones want to help in the kitchen because then they feel proud and big. It is often unavoidable that children are busy in the kitchen. They simply want to be everywhere, explore the world, and help mom and dad. Cooking with kids and letting them help is a good thing because it promotes their self-confidence and independence. However, there are a few things you should keep in mind so that cooking with children is fun for everyone.
But for starters, an all-clear signal: You don’t need to buy special equipment or kitchen appliances for cooking with kids. Most of them are not less or more safe than the regular ones – but they are often overpriced. Actually, they can learn the correct handling for regular kitchen equipment from an early age. However, an apron and a non-slipping step stool are always good ideas for cooking with kids.
Hot Meal Cooking: Safety in the Kitchen for Kids
If you let your children help in the kitchen, you should first talk to them about the basics. The hot stove, for example, so that they don’t burn themselves. An induction stove can be worth a thought if you want to remodel your kitchen anyway because the stove plate only gets hot if a cooking pot stands on it. When cooking with kids, you should use the rear cooktops should if possible. So small children cannot pull the pots from the hotplate. Handles of pans and pots should always be turned to the back so that kids cannot reach them.
You should also keep an eye on the kettle. It should not stand at cabinet edges, but further away. This also prevents kids from pulling it down and burning themselves. Kettles are also often very heavy and smaller children need a hand with it. The toaster or oven can also get very hot so you should watch and help your kids there as well.
Cooking With Kids: Practice Makes Perfect
Three-year-olds can already help with cutting, for example. It is important that they are sitting on a safe chair while helping. In the beginning, children should only train to cut with plastic knives or butter knives. With those, they can already cut soft foods such as bananas or cucumbers. Cut bananas can make a delicious snack or breakfast for the whole family, so the little ones can practice well.
If they have more training, they can also use a sharper knife and dare to do other things. Explain to the child that he or she should always cut away from the body. So they learn how to protect themselves which also promotes their self-confidence. However, even with experienced children, you should always keep an eye on them. If children are distracted or not concentrated, they can cut themselves quickly.
Choosing The Right Recipe
There are plenty of books and internet databases containing recipes that children will like. Meals suitable for children can contain nearly all sorts of ingredients. But keep in mind that too much sugar, salt, or hot spices can affect their well-being. So when choosing a recipe for cooking with kids, consider one they will actually eat. On the other hand, a self-made meal might bring your children to taste the food they usually reject. If your kid doesn’t like broccoli, for example, processing it might make it interesting.
However, start with easy recipes for kids such as spaghetti or pizza. We love this pizza recipe to make with our kids!
Easy Cheese Pizza
- Pizza stone or baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- 1 premade pizza dough
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce can use more if desired
- 8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
- Roll out dough on a pizza stone or parchment sheet. Sprinkle with flour if desired.
- Evenly spread marinara sauce over the pizza dough.
- Sprinkle the top with cheese. Add extra toppings or veggies if desired.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes and enjoy!
Older children with more experience in cooking can also do help with more complex meals such as fine soup or roast beef. All in all, teach your children how to cook with fresh food and include them in all the steps. Also learning how to read a recipe, serving sizes, or substituting ingredients with food from your storage are valuable lessons.
Weigh, Mix, Decorate: Baking With Kids
Especially when it comes to baking, children want to help because they love sweets. They can help to weigh or mix things. For example, a preschooler can already hold a hand mixer. Help them to make sure both their hands are on the handle. Hence they have enough strength to hold it and their fingers are safe.
Children with long hair should definitely tie it back due to many reasons. First, it’s more hygienic. Second, long hair in front of their face limits their sight. Third, hair caught in a hand mixer causes pain. Also, be sure to stay next to the kids while mixing and keep the bowl firmly in place. When they let go of the hand mixer spontaneously, you can promptly step in.
Cooking With Kids Makes Them Proud
All safety hazards aside: Children love to help. So we as parents should not put too much thought into it and simply give cooking with kids a try. Plus, there are so many benefits to it! Doing household chores such as preparing a meal together does not only promote the relationship between parents and children. It also helps with your kid’s motor skills. Furthermore, children who help in the home from an early age learn that chores are a normal part of daily life. This is a lesson that will help them with their own household in the future. So it is better to encourage their helping streak and appreciate it. Your little ones surely will be very proud of their own prepared meal.
It is also a better idea to talk to your kids about dangers in the kitchen or the household and show them how to use utensils properly than to keep them away. Untrained children are more likely to hurt themselves than trained ones who know the correct handling.