The thought of letting your kids loose in the kitchen may be a little bit on the frightening side – especially if you like everything to be in its place – but it is a great way to teach and entertain them.
Getting them to help you with the cooking – whether it’s making a full meal, decorating cakes or just mixing things – can help to provide them with skills that will benefit them in the future. It will also get them excited about food and ensure they want to learn more.
Encouraging the chefs of the future can help them to understand the importance of healthy eating and get them to engage their imagination and creativity in practical ways. You never know, they could be putting together your Sunday roast or a three-course meal for all the family in no time!
Of course, simply letting your kids at it in the kitchen is far from the best course of action. Instead, try one or more of our great tips to teach them about food preparation and to keep them entertained.
Get them stirring
One of the best ways to get your little chefs in the kitchen is to start them off small with a bit of stirring. From the littlest kitchen helpers to older kids, anyone is able to make a mix – or a mess – with a bowl and a spoon.
You can get them stirring up cake batter, flapjack mix, icing or anything else you can think of will get them involved and excited about what you’re making. It also means you can start to teach them certain recipes, such as a basic Victoria sponge, which will stick with them for years.
While there’s a good chance that much of your mixture will end up outside of the bowl, this is a great way to start your kids off in the kitchen.
You can’t really hand over a sharp kitchen knife to your kids to get them to prepare vegetables, but giving older children dinner knives or plastic ones that can cut soft vegetables is a good way to give them something different to do.
So long as they are able to slice up carrots, cauliflower or other vegetables, they won’t need any utensils that are sharp enough to cut themselves – although they should always be supervised. This will help them to feel like they are a part of making dinner and ensures you can cook while knowing exactly where they are.
If they aren’t quite old enough to chop up your veggies, try peeling the vegetables you’re using and let them cut them up smaller. This may not really mean they are helping you cook, but they’ll feel like they are.
It isn’t just cooking that can get your children in the kitchen, you can also get them involved in the clean up. If you’re making a meal that they can’t help with safely, give them the job of washing up or wiping down.
Making it sound like an important job is sure to make them want to do it, while adding toys to the washing up bowl or giving them their own cleaning things will make it more entertaining. Once again, this means you can keep an eye on them when you’re cooking and it will help them to learn about how important a clean kitchen is.
Let them choose
Whether they can help you cook or not, you can get your little ones involved by allowing them to choose what you’re going to whip up. Give them a couple of options for dinner or for baked treats so it is totally up to them.
You can then go to the supermarket and put them in charge of the list in order to get all the ingredients. This means you’ll be able to tell them why each ingredient is needed in order to teach them a bit about cooking before you even start.
When you’ve got everything you need, have them help you measure, cut, stir and watch anything that needs doing to create your culinary masterpiece. While it’s cooking, they can even lay the table so they have been involved in everything.
Not only will this be a lot of fun, it will keep them occupied for hours!
Chefs of the Future challenge
We believe cooking in the Cook4Me is so simple, that even the kids can do it – with some supervision! To prove this, we put the Wills family to the test. Watch the video below and keep a look out for how they get on when the kids take charge of the kitchen.