Spending time in the kitchen with kids is one of the greatest things you can do as a family. Just think about the skills we teach them when we are cooking dinner. It’s a mini lesson in reading, math, science, nutrition and the meal you enjoy together after is a wonderful bonus.
It may seem daunting to let kids run wild in the kitchen, but if you give them lots of time and help, even young school-age kids can do simple tasks like:
- stir batter with a wooden spoon
- wash and tear lettuce for a salad
- crack eggs into a bowl, and whisk them for easy recipes like this Baked Cinnamon French Toast
- measure and pour (there’s a lesson in fractions right there!)
- mash ingredients for a recipe like these devilled eggs
Kids are never too young to start learning how to load the dishwasher either! Older children can reliably grate carrots, peel potatoes, scramble eggs, and flip pancakes. Just make sure you’re close by to supervise.
It’s amazing the sense of pride and independence they feel when their assigned task has been accomplished and they’ve contributed something important to the family meal.
Some tips for success:
- Involve the kids in dinner planning and they may be more likely to eat what’s on their plates
- Try not to stress about the mess, but make sure everyone understands that spills need to be mopped up. You can limit mess by spreading out a wipeable tablecloth in your work area. Sometimes just using an extra large mixing bowl will do the trick.
- Most importantly, be patient and have fun. Think of it this way, your chef-in-training may be preparing your meals someday! So lay the foundation early and you may be in for a treat sooner than you think.