Taking care of children is probably one of the toughest jobs in the world. It’s also one of the most rewarding, so making the effort is definitely worthwhile. With all the gadgets and screens that even the youngest kids have these days, though, how is one to compete?
Fortunately, it’s not that hard to bond with kids, whether you’re a parent, aunt/uncle, teacher, or babysitter. Most children simply require a healthy amount of attention and interesting activity. The best thing to do is go outside, but indoor activities like cooking are just as great.
Some might even say that cooking is the best way to spend a superb time with kids. It can prove to be a very positive experience for them, and strengthen your bond for life. Cooking is something we do daily, but it can be a good learning process for the kids, teaching them a life skill that they’d be thankful for later on.
It might be a good idea to start involving your kids while cooking. This way, they can be your helping hands and also find some new ways to spur their creativity and interest. If you’re still not convinced, here are some more reasons why cooking with kids is a good idea:
Cooking also Means Learning
Cooking provides several learning opportunities which can improve your child in many subjects. When you cook, you’re making use of your reading, basic math, measuring and direction-following skills. Spending time in the kitchen with your kids means that they read recipes, calculate ratios of ingredients, measure out liquids plus solids, and learn how to follow the instructions properly.
Cooking is also an organized process. You have to plan your ingredients as well as ensure that you have all the right tools for the job. After that, you have to plan, execute and, of course, clean up (often the least fun part of the job – but the kids can love scrubbing the sink and playing with the suds!).
Cooking Helps With Creative Thinking
When kids get cooking in the kitchen, the activity opens up their minds to all sorts of possibilities. They see ingredients going from dry to moist, and then transforming into something else altogether. They also see how they can take some boring ingredients and turning them into an exciting dish or dessert!
With all these cooking adventures, kids eventually learn to think on their own. They might start experimenting with the recipes you tell them, such as adding marshmallow in the cookies or an extra dollop of cream in a curry.
Another fun task can be to allow them to invent their own recipes. Let their creativity flow. Playing with all those fun ingredients and the measuring cups can really be an enjoyable experience, even if the end result doesn’t taste so good. You never know, they might very well hit upon a delicious combination that you never thought of! This might even inspire them to take an interest in cooking for the rest of their lives.
Learning About Safety Through Cooking
Another plus of cooking is that kids can learn about safety. Admittedly, the kitchen is one of the most dangerous areas of the house, but that’s all the more reason why you should teach kids to stay safe there.
They can learn about heat for cooking, ingredients that are unsafe unless cooked, how to handle knives, and more. Of course, you should never let your younger children cook alone. Teach them the importance of always ensuring that they have an adult helping them cook.
You can also look up some simple recipes that they can make without using the stove. The toaster, microwave, or simply whipping up a cold item could come in handy when they’re on their own. Once they have these recipes down pat, they won’t be tempted to turn on the stove when they get hungry and you’re busy or not at home.
Building Up confidence
Aside from fostering creativity and especially bringing family members closer together, cooking also builds self-confidence in children. Hearing your sons and/or daughters proudly say, “Look Mom, look Dad! I made this myself!” makes them feel that they have achieved some accomplishment. When they see adults enjoying something that they’ve cooked, the kids can feel an immeasurable sense of pride.
Independence is another factor in self-confidence. When kids learn to make their snack or even a meal by themselves with just a little help from you, they’ll be more equipped for real life. Before you know it, they’ll be grown up and going away to college.
Once they’re on their own, the kids will even thank you for inspiring the confidence in them to cook at a young age. This will help them to cut back on the costs of eating out as well as maintain a healthier eating habit.
Whether you’re cooking with just one kid or more, working in the kitchen helps bring you together as a family or group. Cooking together with the family also teaches their kids a great sense of teamwork.
Appreciation of Cooking and Food Preparation
A final benefit of cooking is that kids will gain an appreciation for what it takes to get a meal on the table or what happens in the kitchen at a restaurant. Hopefully, they will then have a better appreciation for that fish and broccoli they are eating for their next meal!
When kids know just how much time and effort it takes to put a meal together, they’re also less likely to throw tantrums about food. Children can be extremely picky about food, so learning about the nuances of every meal could actually help them eat up rather than demanding special treatment.
If you’re a parent who’s been worrying about their child’s insistence on eating nothing but chicken nuggets or some other kind of food, getting them to help you out in the kitchen could be the answer. Cooking will introduce them to new ingredients and experience, hence making them more open to trying out everything at least once.
Watching a Show
If you’re having trouble getting your child interested in cooking, perhaps having them watch a show with kids cooking might help them move forward. There are several cooking competition shows like Masterchef Junior, where the children are passionate about cooking and can handle their pots and pans in a safe manner.
Getting a Book
Recipe books for adults might get boring if you’re cooking with children. You might want to pique their interest by investing in a fun recipe book that’s written for their own age group. Deanna F. Cook has authored a lovely work that’s filled with recipes that kids will love to make and consume. Check it out here:
This book is spiral-bound, with around 57 recipes that are suited to children’s cooking abilities and taste buds. The most basic cooking instructions are laid out in an enjoyable and readable manner, aimed at the age group of six to twelve.
Some of the most popular recipes you can try for kids include applesauce, pizza, popcorn chicken, French toast, brownies, mashed potatoes, etc. Within these pages, you’ll also find some adorable ideas for presentation, teaching kids to present their food in the most imaginative ways. These include mashed potato cloud, fruit flowers, and much more.
There’s no reason why cooking should be an adults-only activity. Once you prepare beforehand, you can have several kids in the kitchen, all cooking together. This would make for an enjoyable and productive activity, especially on those days when you can’t go outdoors.
While we can’t say that cooking with your kids wouldn’t require some effort, keep in mind that you have to feed them anyway. Instead of relying on unhealthy takeout or doing everything for them, it’s only logical that you allow them into the kitchen and put them to work.
The bond you develop when cooking with kids is something they’ll remember for a lifetime. Along with learning a valuable skill, they’ll up to you with respect for teaching them something useful. So get out that little apron and see about teaching those children how to cook something delicious!