One of the most fabulous things to do with children is cook! Not only is this a fantastic way of getting in some quality family time but can also be a learning experience. Cooking can involve the following skills: reading, writing, math, and science. Now if your child is really young (say a toddler or preschooler), it may be a scary thought to engage them in cooking. Yet, it need not be. With some careful planning and instruments that help them follow along with the directions, time in the kitchen can be wonderful for all involved. Take a look at some steps on how to get started.
- Pick a simple recipe. You don’t have to get crazy and complicated. One of the easiest things for kids to help cook (or bake in this instance) is cookies. Then you can graduate to cupcakes, cakes, and other easy dishes or baked goods.
- Gather your tools & ingredients. This will be important when involving young children. The more prepared you are, the less wait time for them and mischief they will get into. You may also want to take some time to explain the different measuring tools.
- Have a picture recipe handy. This will be particularly developmentally appropriate for young children. It helps them become a part of the process of following a recipe. This is also where reading and writing skills come in. Picture reading is one of the first pre-reading skills. You may want to draw out your own picture recipe or find one online. In addition, this visual aid is a wonderful modification for children with special needs.
- Review health/safety procedures. One of the most important thing is to explain to children the health and safety procedures for cooking. As with anything, we want to teach our children how to protect themselves. You may also want to have a visual for this as well. Much like the ones for hand washing you see in public areas.
- It’s about the process not the product. Just remember that going through the process can be more memorable than the actual product. Try not to get hung up on the details being perfect. Instead have fun, mess up, make a mess, and laugh, laugh, laugh! That’s what it’s all about!
Now for the less brave at heart, there is also non-cook recipes available for you to start off with. Here are some easy non-cook recipes your child will enjoy. You can also check out other ideas on Pinterest.com. Think you may have a budding chef on your hands and have already gone through the family recipe book? Well, take a look into setting up cooking classes for your child. Check out this list of kids cooking classes in Newark and get cooking!