The Benefits of Cooking with Kids
Published 29 April 2021 at 02:50
It is hard to imagine a more worthwhile family pastime than cooking with your little one! OK, it can be messy, sometimes it is challenging, yet, it is the best time investment ever. There are so many benefits that it is difficult to highlight all of them and decide what are the most important, but we will give it a try!
What makes cooking with kids so great?
Quite often, kids have no idea how much time and effort it takes to prepare dinner. And, taking part in the cooking process, they start to understand and respect the parents’ labor in the kitchen.
Quality family time
You are together in the kitchen. No gadgets, no distractions, just you and the cooking process. It is a great possibility to communicate to your heart’s content and eat some treats afterward. It’s a win-win situation!
Tasting new food
Children are often so finicky eaters and it is so hard to make them taste something new! But, when kids participate in cooking unusual food, there is a pretty good chance that they will at least try a new dish. And, with every other new dish, they will get used to the idea that new food can be tasty so they will unusual products more willingly.
When kids cook a dish on their own, it is a great achievement and they know about it. And when other members of the family admire their work, children become more self-confident as they can do something challenging without help.
The importance of following the recipes
All know that it is essential not to take shortcuts when it comes to following the recipes, especially when we are talking about baking. Yet, sometimes it is possible to allow kids to make this mistake and allow them to do some research and exploration: what will happen if we add only half of the needed flour or too much sugar? The disastrous result will show immediately why we need to follow the recipe.
Why we add baking powder to the dough and why we get bubbles when we combine vinegar and bicarbonate of soda? What is the temperature of boiling water? Why is temperature so important in baking? Why does the meat change color when we fry it? There are so many science-related questions in cooking! Here is our chance to introduce kids to chemistry, math, physics on the level they will understand.
Learning where does food come from
Milk does not come from a carton; pizza does not grow on trees – it is time to find out what are the origins of the food we eat. Besides, kids often think that bread is not a dish but a raw ingredient, so baking a bread loaf with them may be a sound solution.
Food as a part of cultural heritage
Some say that national dishes epitomize the nation. So, you can cook national dishes when your kids study different countries at school.
Photo Credit: Master1305 | Freepik
What is the right age to start?
Well, cooking has so many processes that it is possible to find a safe way to involve even a toddler in preparing dishes. So, here are some age-appropriate ideas on how kids can help you.
Preschoolers (2-5 years) can handle some simple small tasks:
- Sort cutlery
- Rinse fruits and vegetables
- Sprinkle decorations or toppings on pizza
- Assemble sandwiches
Kids aged 6-8 need less supervision than little ones, still, they can start doing some more serious tasks. Still, you have to decide if they can do something more difficult than decorating a cake.
Also, it is time, when they start to read, so let them read the recipe and instructions aloud. Kids can:
- Frost cupcakes
- Scoop and slice avocados (a plastic knife can do the job)
- Crack and whisk an egg
- Grate cheese with a box grater
- Melt chocolate in a microwave
- Set the table
Preteens (9-12 years old) can do simple recipes and can start using a stove and a knife. Naturally, make sure first that they know how to do it safely before allowing them to do that. At this age children can:
- Bake muffins
- Measure ingredients
- Trim and slice vegetables and fruits
- Wash and put away dishes
- Use kitchen gadgets like a mixer or blender
- Fry eggs
Teens (13+) have all chances to make dishes on their own as they master more complex cooking skills:
- Plan and prepare family dinner
- Roast vegetables
- Pan-fry meat or fish
- Bake cakes or cookies on their own
- Marinate food
Simple, yet delicious dish recipe
Photo Credit: Kreativekama | Pixabay
Everybody loves brownies! And here is a recipe for a 3-ingredient brownie that you and your kids can do in no time!
- 1 1/4 cup Nutella
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 350 F (210 C). Grease a 9’’x9’’ baking tin. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl until smooth and pour the batter into the tin.
Bake for around 15 minutes. Let it cool and enjoy!