I have included my kids in the routine of making meals since they were little. Small tasks at first and followed by greater responsibilities when they showed improvement with their
knife skills and taste-buds. A few years ago we gave them one night a week to prepare supper for the family, from appetizers to dessert. They’re all quite confident in the kitchen now.
My daughter has blossomed into quite the baker, she has an entire cupboard marked EMMA’S BAKING.
My youngest is now 10, he has been baking and cooking since he was four years old. Often times I’d come into the kitchen and he’d be on the counter mixing some sort of concoction, big mischievous grin on his face. One lesson we learned the hard way… frozen bagels catch fire when put in the microwave for extended periods of time! For years he’d see a bagel and yell, “NO… FIRE!”
His favourite presents on his 5th birthday… a fishing rod and a boxed cake mix.
When I set up my new kitchen ten years ago, from IKEA, I did so with the kids in mind. Putting in mostly lower cupboards so that plates, bowls and pans could be easily accessed without them needing to climb on the counters or even a chair. I let them experiment. I let them explore. I even let them make a mess. 🙂
When I came across IKEA’s “5 Rules that Make Cooking Fun for Kids” manifesto, I wanted to share it with you. The video, which is quite cute, comes from info gathered for their “Life at Home Report“ (give it a read, it’s really interesting). They found that nearly 50% of all parents feel they don’t have enough time to play with their kids. Talk about an open door for guilt to stroll on in! What accompanies that though… most children lack basic food knowledge and cooking skills because parents fear the mess or stress from letting the kids cook alongside them. According to the report, 9 out of 10 parents said they involved their kids in the kitchen, but most of the tasks had to do with washing food, cleaning up or setting the table, “safe-tasks”. I am one of the “two out of three” parents who believe it’s important to involve my kids in the kitchen. I let them make a mess and I let them use a knife. I see it as spending quality time with them while having fun and educating them on food. A win-win in my books!
Do you like to cook or bake with your kids?
Here are 5 of my own tips to help make it fun in the kitchen with your kids!
- Do all your preparations before hand ~ unless you like getting them to help you find the ingredients needed. This just speeds up the process.
- Choose simple recipes ~ especially when first starting out. You don’t want to go big at first becuase you may end up frustrated and never want to cook with them again.
- Allow taste testing ~ I know you stick your finger in to give it a taste so let them too! My favorite part of baking with my mom was licking the spoon, or the entire bowl for that matter.
- Ask questions ~ “What do you think goes in next?” Kids can have a short attention span at the best of times and this will keep them interested.
- Take lots of pictures! ~ I don’t know about your kids, but my kids love to be the center of attention. With today’s digital generation, they love seeing themselves “on film”.
Above all else … have fun! We often blast the music, sing and dance while cooking in the kitchen. We’ve joked about putting in a disco ball…. They’ll look back on this time with great fondness. In our house growing up, Friday nights were homemade pizza night. I can still remember the smell of the rising dough. I smile at the thought of my dad flinging the pizza dough high into the air.
Memories like this are worth making!