Teaching your children to cook is a great way to get them to eat healthier, and it’s easier on the budget, too. In an age where fast food and delivery make life more convenient, it’s important to teach your children to cook so they can better take care of themselves when they’re ready to go out on their own. Meal preparation isn’t always something kids enjoy, so here’s how to get your children excited about learning to cook.
Make Your Kitchen Kid-Friendly
You know how fun it is to cook when you have all the right tools, and everything works the way it should? Well, your kids feel the same way. Purchase utensils designed just for kids that fit their small hands snugly and keep them safe. Also, use only great quality cookware with no-scratch, non-stick surfaces. Nothing kills a child’s enthusiasm for cooking faster than stuck-on, burnt food, and if you don’t have to worry about them damaging your good pots and pans, you’ll both have more fun.
Make Learning Fun
Kids love competition, and they love learning new things. Incorporate both these aspects by turning food preparation into a game. For example, before beginning to cook, head to the grocery store for all the ingredients you’ll need. If your recipe calls for bell peppers, purchase a green one, a red one, a yellow one, and an orange one. Bring them all home and have the entire family taste test each one to determine which one to use in the recipe. Make sure to allow your children to help you choose the ingredients at the store and cut them up for the taste test.
Let Them Get Messy
Teaching kids to cook is not for the faint hearted, especially since cooking is a messy activity at the best of times. For kids to feel empowered in the kitchen and enjoy what they’re doing, you have to let them be hands-on and get messy.
Kids love making a mess, and this is their opportunity to do that in a productive and educational way. Don’t spend time telling them to be careful or not to spill. Just let them do their thing (with supervision from you, of course), and worry about the mess later. As long as they aren’t in danger of hurting themselves, they’ll have more fun if you just let them be creative.
Let Your Children Experiment
While it’s important to teach them how to follow a recipe, it’s also healthy for kids to explore their creative flair. Even if they ruin the occasional dish, it will be a learning experience for them. If your child insists on going crazy with the salt, let them discover why it’s not a good idea. If they want to mix weird ingredients to see how they taste, it’s okay. They’ll eventually learn what works and what doesn’t. Most children learn by doing, so let them do.
Start with Something Sweet
Children usually prefer sweet to savory, so it makes sense to start teaching the basics by making something sweet together. Muffins are a great choice because you can choose a healthier version and they’re fun to make. Once your child has developed an enthusiasm for cooking, you both can move on to something more involved and complicated.
Teaching kids to cook is beneficial for many reasons. From encouraging healthier eating habits to saving money, a child that knows how to cook is better equipped to care for him or herself in the future. Using the suggestions above, you can get your children excited about learning to cook.