When I cook with my son, I might chop vegetables and have fun with different shapes. Cooking is a way to teach kids about other things, like reading or math with all of the weights and measures. There are so many things that are part of cooking that are also very educational.
With everyone staying home more, a lot of folks are doing more home cooking than e. ver before. We can’t go top restaurants and the school cafeteria is closed. Luckily the combination of an active kitchen and bored kids can kill two birds with one stone. Here are my three simple rules for success in turning your little monsters into sous chefs.
I mean really early. As soon as the kid is old enough to follow simple instructions they are old enough to help feed themselves. Getting them making their own PBJ is like a gateway drug to cooking. You are teaching them control and responsibility and showing them trust. Yeah, they’ll make a mess, they were going to do that anyways.
Delegate Tasks, But Get Everyone Involved.
Some of the funnest cooking projects can involve the whole family, think holiday cookies, or putting together a giant batch of filled dumplings assembly line style. Make sure everybody gets a job that they can do, even if it’s just portioning ingredients or putting the sprinkles on. Putting toppings on homemade pizza is a great starting point. The stereotypical modern family where Mom (usually,) does all the cooking is a historical anomaly. Pretend you’re in the Little House on the Prairie, everybody pitches in. Just make sure a grown up is there to do the slicing and handle the hot things until your Hellions are old enough to handle those tasks.
Get Out of the Way
Eventually your kids will ask to cook for themselves, LET THEM! Make sure you’re keeping an eye out but let them try stuff. Some kids just want to make their own Mac and Cheese From the little blue box. They’ll learn to follow instructions and recipes, they’ll pick up some patience as they wait for the timer to go off, and they will be a lot more likely to try new things that they had a hand in making.
The end product of introducing your kids to cooking can be a simple as less worry on afternoons when you don’t have time to make lunch all the way to an ambitious teen like The Schmoo, who makes us at least one decadent British Baking Show confection a week!
Featured Image: My Pizza’s, by Lou Doench, Blotz Photo Arts, Used with permission.