Cooking with Children | Involving children in the kitchen to help you cook can be a great way to spend quality time together while they learn and refine some basic skills.
As parents, one of our greatest pleasure is to feed our children and watch them enjoy the fruits of our labor while nourishing their bodies. Just as wonderful is having them appreciate the process and ingredients of what is going in their body. I’ve heard feedback that there would be a mess, or things would never get done but by giving kids age appropriate tasks, cooking would become less of a task and more of a family activity with all hands on deck. Asides from cooking (which is a basic life skill) kids learn about healthy eating, arithmetic, sorting, textures and more when they are involved in the kitchen.
So whether they are 2 or 20, here are some reasons to involve kids in the kitchen.
When they cook they taste
Parents of picky eaters hear me out! Involving children in the process of cooking, shopping for ingredients, plucking herbs greatly increases the chance that they’ll actually try the finished dish. They may even discover a new favorite. This has worked wonderfully for me, especially when it comes to certain green vegetables.
Shopping for new ingredients, making a new recipe is a great way to introduce new names your children haven’t heard or used before. When I go shopping with my little one we talk about what we’ll be cooking that week, what we need and the Hindi and English names of the fruits & vegetables.
Cooking and creating builds an “I can” attitude that can be extended beyond the kitchen. Appreciating the efforts that went into the final product, using kitchen appliances and utensils, seeing the fruits (or vegetables) of your labor are all rewarding and prideful moments for little ones.
Builds appreciation for nature
Starting a small vegetable/herb garden at home helps children connect the food they eat to how it’s grown while teaching them that it takes work and resources. You can read more reasons why to garden here.
Improves arithmetic skills
Measuring cups and spoons provide great tools for lessons on fractions. For younger children, sorting ingredients, following recipes while reminding them how many cups/spoons helps them expand on their mathematical skills.
Builds sensory awareness
My little one has a huge aversion for certain textures. Having her mush certain ingredients, play with food, feel vegetable’s textures and taste while doing it helps her to overcome some of her dislikes.
Cooking together, best of all will create memories for you and your family. It will bring cooks of all ages together in the kitchen. On my parents last visit, Little Mirchi stood side by side next to my Dad while they cooked dinner. It was a beautiful moment to see them enjoy and create together. You could see her excitement to help and his heart fill with pride as she mixed and measured.
Photography via TC Photography