Healthy behaviours are ingrained from an early age, so it makes sense to get kids started in the kitchen early to raise healthy happy eaters. It’s not all about healthy eating though, kids of all ages love doing grown-up jobs, and developing new skills in the kitchen can be a great confidence boost.
Whether it’s through introducing new foods (or sneakily re-introducing those that previously got a definite no) or training up a little chef in the making, entertaining in the kitchen reduces screen time and gives our little ones an opportunity to learn.
Here are some top tips for keeping kids entertained in the kitchen these school holidays.
A taste test is a great way to get kids excited about trying new foods. This educational activity can also double as lunch! An easy way to set up a kid’s taste test is using small ramekins or mini muffin tins.
There are multiple ways kids can learn and stay entertained with this trick. Start by asking your kids to identify foods that are salty, sour, sweet, spicy, and bitter… and you’ve got yourself a science test!
Secondly, try to get your little ones to describe what they’re eating – just how creative can they be? This is a great way to introduce more taste-related vocabulary, such as delicious, mouth-watering, bland, terrible, stale, unpleasant, and scrumptious.
Cooking and nourishing yourself well is more than just following a recipe. Involving kids in meal planning, picking food from the supermarket, and growing your own produce teaches them the whole garden-to-kitchen process while getting them excited about fresh food as well as encouraging their curiosity. Start by having them plan, buy, and prepare foods from the 5 food groups to go into their school lunchbox.
The key to making cooking with your little one fun is assigning them age-appropriate tasks that they can do well.
Here are a few ideas:
Let them pound the dough
Ask them to tear the lettuce for salads
Let them assemble the pizza
Allow them to stir the pancake batter
Get them to squeeze citrus fruits
Ask them to pour water into measuring cups
Ask them to sort large ingredients into different bowls
Let them add the ingredients to the dish
Let them stir the stew for a few minutes
Make them your page-turner as you read the cookbook
Keeping kids safe in the kitchen doesn’t mean shooing them away. It means teaching what is off-limits and requires keeping constant supervision over them. Sharp knives should be kept out of reach until they have learned the danger of being cut and the rules for using knives. Teaching kids the proper use of knives as they mature is the best way to keep them safe from being cut.
While cooking with younger kids, keep them at arm’s length from the stove by inserting yourself between the stove and the child to block any sudden moves toward a hot stove. Even very young children learn early to avoid the heat of the stove but need constant reminders and supervision.
Food safety is also important. Teach kids not to handle raw meat or eggs without washing their hands thoroughly. Kids love to help scramble eggs. Minimize spilling by putting the eggs into a larger bowl than normal and letting them go with a fork or whisk. They’ll probably drop the utensil into the egg and pull it out a few times, just make sure they wash their hands immediately.
With school holidays upon us and the festive season in full swing, there’s usually no shortage of sweets, treats, and cookies for the kids to munch on. But it’s important that kids get a break from the sugar highs, and what better way to do this than to get them cooking and preparing their own healthy snacks?
Here are a few ideas…
Easy veggie fritters
Apple & oat bliss balls