We all have fond memories of how exciting it was to be allowed to help in the kitchen, and how proud we were of the first dish we cooked. It’s no surprise then, that parents want to then pass on that experience by educating kids about food hygiene and healthy eating in the process.
Things Will Get Messy
Cooking with kids will no doubt result in your kitchen looking like a piece of modern art, so be prepared for the fallout that usually follows all the fun. To minimise the clean up, encourage kids to tidy as they go because this will not only save you time later on, but also help them practice a good habit for the future.
There is no way to avoid the mess entirely, but choosing easy recipes like a toad in the hole, or sweet and savory cookies, will mean fewer bowls and utensils getting used, and only a few floury hand prints and broken eggs for you to clean up.
Don’t Limit Yourself to the Kitchen
The cooking itself might happen in the kitchen, but you will have picked which recipe to use and bought the ingredients long before you tie your apron strings, so why not let kids get involved with those too? Ask them what them if they would like to cook their favourite dish, or if there is something they have always wanted to taste, then gather the ingredients together.
Allowing children to be part of the whole process will make them feel more involved and can teach them about where all the different ingredients comes from, and when different fruits and vegetables are in season. Get the kids involved with the shopping and planning stage.
Keeping Kids Safe in the Kitchen
When you’re in the kitchen with your little ones, their safety will no doubt be a top priority, and with proper preparation and instruction, everyone can be kept safe so you can focus on the fun.
When working with knives, it’s important that you train children on how to handle them properly. If you’re confident that they can be trusted to handle knives, there’s no reason why older children can’t get involved by helping you chop, slice, or dice the ingredients for the dish.
You can also teach children about the importance of proper food hygiene whilst cooking together, as these are an important part of the cooking process. With younger children, focus on simple things like hand washing before handling food, wiping up spills immediately, and tying back long hair. If your little sous chef already knows all this, then you can move on to why it is important to use separate chopping boards for cooked and raw ingredients.
Before you begin cooking, have a quick look around your kitchen to make sure there won’t be any hazards. For example, if the counter is too tall, use a proper step stool that won’t wobble to make sure there’s no slips, trips or falls.
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