Summer is fast approaching, and all the little people will soon be out of school. Whether you have preschoolers or elementary students off for the summer vacation, what will you do to fill those long and tedious days. Of course, every kid looks forward to getting out of school for a couple months, but the anticipation is much more pleasant than the reality of day after day with nothing to fill the hours.
Why not spend some time teaching your little people their way around the kitchen? Kids love to ‘cook’ with mom and there are quite a few easy recipes Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice suggest for children.
When Is Cooking Not Cooking?
The funny thing about the term ‘cooking’ is that we aren’t always referring to something actually cooked or baked. How many times do you tell the family that you are cooking dinner when actually you are making tuna sandwiches to be served with chips?
We use the term loosely instead of the more properly descriptive ‘preparing dinner,’ and so kids will think they are cooking even when no heat is used! However, even when you must use the stove or oven, there are prep or garnish steps which kids can help with at no danger to them.
Let Them Add the Ingredients
Have you ever noticed how much fun kids have dumping things out? Just leave your shampoo on the side of the tub during bath time one night and see how quickly your little ones will pour it all into the tub with them. They will then proceed to splash around until bubbles are formed. Then there is the sand pail at the beach. Most kids will work diligently to fill it up, only to dump it out and start all over again.
If you pre-measure your ingredients when baking a cake, for instance, let the little ones pour the ingredients into the bowl as you need them. Not only will they believe they are ‘cooking’ but they will begin to develop stronger motor skills as well. It does take coordination to hit the bowl after all!
Shaping and Cutting
Kids also like to get that hands-on experience. It is one of the most effective ways they learn. One night, make meatballs and let the kids form the balls after you’ve mixed all the ingredients. Did you know that this can also be a lesson in personal hygiene? By teaching them the 20-second rule of handwashing before working with food and, of course, after as well, you are teaching them one of life’s most important lessons.
So many germs are spread by contact that it is a good idea to teach kids early on the importance of scrubbing away those invisible creatures! Don’t forget, when you make sugar cookies, let the kids do the shape cutting while you put them on the cookie sheet and into the oven. It’s loads of fun without letting them anywhere near that dangerously hot oven. From shaping to ‘cutting’ to the frosting, there are many ways kids can help you cook while learning some of life’s most valuable lessons. Spending time with mom in the kitchen is the best part of all! See for yourself.