This post “How to Involve Kids in the Kitchen” is my effort to imbibe the basic skills in children from the very young age.
These basic Life skills are as important as formal education. Cooking is one of those skills, I feel, makes one independent.
I spent a good part of my adult years away from Home and if I couldn’t cook, it would be a painful experience. I wish my Kids to be self-reliant. I want them to learn this powerful art; The Art of Cooking.
Their gender should not come between the learning.
In this era, when role demarcations are withering and each one of us has a race to run, one should not always count on someone for bread. I want my Kids to learn this vital skill and prepare them for life when they will not be under my roof.
AGE APPROPRIATE TASKS TO INVOLVE KIDS IN THE KITCHEN
BEGINNER: 2-3 years
1. Make them sit nearby to observe while you are cooking.
2. Allow them to watch, smell, touch, and taste.
3. Introduce the concept of heat and danger in the kitchen.
4. Introduce the concept of cleanliness and hygiene in food preparation by asking to wash the raw vegetables, fruits, and salads.
SECOND LEVEL: 4-5 years
1. Give them the liberty to choose their tiffin items.
2. Guide them to clean their toy kitchen set when you’re done with cooking.
3. Introduce them to stirring and mashing.
THIRD LEVEL: 6-7 years
1. Make them grate vegetables.
2. Allow them to peel raw potatoes with a peeler
3. Let them scoop the fruits.
4. Ask them to measure out real ingredients.
FOURTH LEVEL: 8-9 years
1. Ask them to decorate dishes on the table
2. LEt them assist you during baking, measuring and weighing.
3. Ask them to read the recipe while you cook.
4. Let them scoop the batter into the mold.
5. Ask them to roll the chapattis.
6. Let them make their own sandwiches.
FIFTH LEVEL: 10-12 years
1. Teach them the knife skills.
2. Ask them to flip chapattis
3. Take them along for grocery shopping –
- Make a list
- Make a budget
- Look for deals
- Search for counters
- Collect things in the cart
- Tally the prices once back at home
Learning will never stop, not even for me. However, these activities will create a foundation to begin the learning curve in the kitchen. I want them to be competent in the kitchen because knowing how to cook leads to healthier meals and lower food budgets.
Call me selfish but I want them to be able to put together a meal if I am running late in the future.
Benefits of involving kids in the Kitchen and Cooking
1. You will raise a happy teenager to help you in the kitchen.
2. They will always enjoy the dish they prepare. A boon for picky eaters.
3. Cooking with kids is a great opportunity to talk about life.
4. It encourages healthy food choices
5. It builds confidence and creativity
6. It enhancing communication and deepens connections with your child.
Some Dos and Don’ts to involve kids in the kitchen
1. Be patient and let them learn their way.
2. Spare the weekends for learning rather than busy weekday mornings.
3. Be prepared for spills and a general mess.
4. Give positive and encouraging responses.
1. Do not talk down to your kids when they are doing it wrong.
2. Do not criticize them.
3. Do not groan every time your child spills something; let them go in their flow without worrying about making a mess along the way.
Note: The items listed vary based on the child’s interest, cultures and family. You may choose to use some of these activities in the kitchen if you think they are appropriate for your individual child and family. Close supervision is always advised when cooking with children.
Are you a Parent? – Do share your Experiences while cooking with Kids. Feel free to add a tip.
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