Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Cooking with Children

Cooking with children can be a wonderful experience that creates natural learning opportunities and sweet memories. Or it can be a stressful, unpleasant experience that ends in tears. Here are some tips to help make it fun for everybody.

1. Before you start, take a moment to make sure your heart is right. If you have been dreading the thought of teaching your children how to cook, or you are worried about the mess or lack of time you will find it much harder to keep your patience and sense of humour. Think of it as a chance to have fun with your kids and maybe even produce something yummy at the end.

2. Choose a morning or afternoon when you have lots of time. Cooking with kids will take a lot longer than cooking something by yourself.

3. Put on some fun music and maybe even a pretty apron. Make sure your kitchen is clean so that you're not trying to work around last night's dirty dinner plates.

4. Gather up all the ingredients and utensils before you start. (Nothing causes frustration faster than getting half-way through a recipe only to discover that you have to race up to the shop because you've run out of sugar).

5. Choose a meal that is fun to make and one that your child will enjoy eating at the end.

6. Read through the recipe with your child and explain that there are ingredients and a method. Let them try to find the ingredients in the cupboard or fridge if they are old enough.

7. Let them participate in each part of the process by giving them age-appropriate tasks. For example, give them a mini bowl with part of the mixture in it and let them stir it, then add it back into the big bowl with the remaining mixture. When cooking with little kids, it may be better if you measure out the ingredients then they pour them into the bowl.

8. Don't worry if the food doesn't turn out so nice, it's the time spent together that matters.

9. Remember to make if fun for them - laugh and praise your child often.

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