Friday, March 25, 2011

Kids In The Kitchen

Kids in the Kitchen is a topic very close to my heart. Being vacation time here, my kids are having a blast acting sous chef.


Kids in the Kitchen: How to Involve them and Make it Fun


Encouraging your child to be active in the kitchen can do wonders—it allows for family bonding time; it can boost your child's self esteem (they feel highly valued contributing to something); it teaches them about healthy eating habits at an early age; and it can help improve their basic math, reading, and listening skills. Not to mention, your child might find a true passion for cooking later on and may even pursue it as a profession.
But sometimes it can be a little tricky on how to get your child involved in the kitchen—sometimes measuring and mixing cake batter just isn’t enough to spark your child's interest. For some easy and fun ways to get your child more engaged in the cooking process, continue reading below.

Let Theme Help with the Menu

It's well known that children can sometimes be picky eaters—maybe they are on some special "diet" where they will only eat chicken nuggets. Maybe they won't touch anything that's "green" like broccoli, spinach or salad. While their taste buds will surely mature over time, it might be best that instead of forcing unwanted foods down their throat, you let them choose what they want for dinner –and then let them help make it. You can even make a game out of it if you wish—maybe you can tell your child to write down three of their favorite foods on individual pieces of paper and then put them in a hat to select randomly.
If you don't want to risk feeding your family chocolate brownies for dinner, then at least give your child options—let them choose between two to three entrĂ©es, side dishes and desserts that you hand select. If your child is more intrigued with what is being served, then perhaps he or she will be more intrigued to help make it. If your child is really young, they can still help out with food preparation by doing small things such as pulling ingredients from the refrigerator or pantry, rinsing fruits and vegetables or maybe even cutting "soft" foods with a plastic butter knife like hardboiled eggs, strawberries or mushrooms.

Themed Meals /Treats
Another really fun and neat way to get your child in the kitchen is to host themed dinners. This is an excellent way to introduce your little one to not only new foods, but new cultures as well. For example, you can have a "fiesta taco night" and listen to Mexican music while you let your child shred the lettuce, fill the taco shells and sprinkle the cheese. In fact, any meal where your child can assemble something on their own is always a good thing—think homemade pizza for Italian night. This same concept can also apply when making your traditional cookies and cupcakes. If it's a particular holiday then pull out all the big guns and have a buffet of different sprinkles, icing and cookie cutters that coincide with that holiday. If there is no particular holiday, your child could always decorate treats that have themes that are interested in. For example, if you have a sports-fanatic little boy, bake some cookies that looks like footballs. Or if you have a little girl, she can decorate some princess cupcakes.

Set the Table

Allowing your child to set the table is another great way to include them. This can be a very fun and excellent learning activity since it can teach them about organization and how to match colors and shapes and other objects.

More Quick Tips
-When you want to involve your child in the cooking process, always choose a time when you are not in a rush to make dinner. This is supposed to be a bonding and learning experience, if you are rushing through it or get too aggravated, it may discourage your child from ever wanting to participate again.

-Teach your child about good hygiene from the start—such as washing hands before touching food, rolling up sleeves and pulling their hair back.

-Always expect a mess. Try not to be too concerned with keeping the kitchen tidy as you go along. But do include your child in the cleaning process once the meal is prepared.

14 comments:

  1. Thanks for the good post. I often find myself slipping into the same old habits with my four-year-old who likes to help cook: he knows he's allowed to line up things like french fries in the pan, and usually gets to stir batter for a few seconds, but other than that, I sometimes forget to think of new activities to add to our cooking-together arsenal. Thanks for the reminder. :) I also like the idea of playing themed music to go with themed food preparation. Good call!

    ReplyDelete
  2. very true lovley pictures and post

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks Shirley for the wonderful post....my daughter always love helping me out in the kitchen....surely there r some nice tips in here...loved it !

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great and so special clicks.
    Wishing you all the best ♥

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thank-you for the reminder. My kids love to cook with me, and I sometimes forget that the extra time and mess are worth it.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Useful tips! Thanks for sharing dear...

    ReplyDelete
  7. Awesome... Your blog truly inspires me.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Very nice tips there, esp the one about choosing a time when you are not in a rush. Thank you for this :-)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Great tips. We practice many of those here as my older son is a picky eater. If he had things his way, it'd be grilled cheese, pizza and Kraft Dinner every day for everyone! Thank goodness he likes some vegetables.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Wonderful post and the pics are just adorable. :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. First time here....

    U have a wonderful space with healthy recipes, glad to follow u

    nice interesting post dear :)

    check my space when u find time....

    ReplyDelete
  12. Beautiful post. Your kids are so sweet and adorable. Hope you have a blasting time with your kids as they enjoy their vacation. I'm sure you enjoy, too. Sounds like you are cooking up a storm with them :D

    ReplyDelete
  13. Great tips! kids seem to enjoy helping in all aspects of cooking, even washing the dishes :)

    ReplyDelete
  14. I know what to do when I have kids. :) It is so important to bond with kids.

    ReplyDelete

LinkWithin

Blog Widget by LinkWithin