How to teach your kids to cook!
Cooking is a great way to bring your family together and teach your kids valuable life skills. It can also be a lot of fun! But if you’ve never been a fan of being in the kitchen, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. Fear not, parents! There are some simple steps you can take to get your kids in the kitchen and teach them some basic cooking skills. From setting up a safe kitchen environment to cooking together, these seven steps will have your kids whipping up their meals in no time. So, let’s get started on this fun and delicious journey of teaching your kids to cook!
Create a safe kitchen environment
The first thing you will want to do is create a safe kitchen environment for your kids to play in. While most of these activities are intended for younger children, there is always a risk of injury. Be sure to use common sense and keep a close eye on your kids while they are in the kitchen. Your goal should be to make the kitchen a fun and safe place.
Here are some tips to help you create a safe kitchen environment:
Make sure all surfaces are clean and sanitized before letting your children cook in the kitchen.
Keep pots and pans off the floor and out of reach. If you have a highchair, that can be a great place for your child to stand and explore the kitchen environment.
Invest in some protective gear like aprons, oven mitts, and chef’s hats.
Keep sharp objects out of reach and store them in a way that they can’t be accessed by little hands.
Keep your pantry locked if you have any dangerous items like cleaning supplies or sharp things.
Start with basic knife and kitchen safety
One of the first skills you will want to teach your child is basic knife and kitchen safety. While you can always use a butter knife, eventually your kids will need to be able to wield a full-sized chef’s knife. Start by showing your child how to hold the knife properly and, of course, always be nearby.
If your child has their own chef’s knife, make sure to use a child-sized cutting board to ensure the knife does not slip. Go over the proper way to wash, dry, and store your knives so that you can make sure they stay sharp and will last for years to come. Once your child begins to feel comfortable using a knife, make sure to teach them about kitchen safety.
You will want your child to learn about things like avoiding slippery surfaces, keeping their hands away from the blade, and washing their hands often while cooking. Use the opportunity to talk about other safety hazards in the kitchen, like electrical appliances and boiling water.
Stock the kitchen with kid-friendly ingredients
Parents often worry that getting their kids in the kitchen will lead to tons of wasted food and a huge mess. So, they may be tempted to keep everything super simple with only one or two ingredients. However, this can actually be counterproductive to the goal of getting your kids in the kitchen.
If your kids don’t have access to a wide variety of ingredients, they may not be motivated to cook at all. They may feel like there are very few things for them to do in the kitchen. Start by stocking the kitchen with kid-friendly ingredients. You can choose ingredients that are relatively inexpensive and have a low risk of cross-contamination.
Things like mini bagels, English muffins, and sliced bread are great for kids to make their own sandwiches. You can also give kids a few simple ingredients to make their own pizzas at home.
Involve kids in meal planning
Once your kids feel comfortable in the kitchen, you can encourage them to get involved in meal planning. Start by letting your kids choose a meal they would like to make. You can also allow your kids to choose which meals you make for the week.
Once you’ve selected the meals for the week, let your kids help you decide which ingredients to buy. This will allow them to really see how everything ties together. Maybe your child will discover that they really love tacos. Next week, they can help you make tacos again, or maybe they will discover a new favorite!
Teach basic cooking techniques
As your kids are learning new cooking skills and getting involved in meal planning, it is also a good time to start teaching them some basic cooking techniques. You can start with cooking eggs and getting comfortable with a stove or an electric grill.
You can also teach your kids how to use the microwave. Let your kids pick out some fun containers and teach them how to use them in the microwave. It can be helpful to label each container with notes to help your kids remember how long to microwave each item.
You can move on to more advanced techniques as your kids get more comfortable with the basics. You can teach your kids how to use a blender, or how to stir with a wooden spoon. You can also teach your kids how to whisk and make scrambled eggs.
Keep it fun!
As your kids get more comfortable in the kitchen, you can start to introduce new ingredients and experiment with different flavors, textures, and cooking methods. You can use cooking as an opportunity to talk about their school or your kids’ favorite foods. You can also use cooking as a way to talk about health and nutrition and introduce new foods. You can also make a game and let them play roles. One can be the chef, another can be a waiter, and you can be a guest and let them serve you the food you make together.
Finally, it is important to celebrate your kids’ successes in the kitchen. This is a great opportunity to let your kids pick out some fun new cooking gear or kitchenware to help them feel like they are truly part of the process. Make sure to spend some time talking about what a great job your kids did and how proud you are of them. This will help reinforce the skills they are learning, which will help them feel more confident in the kitchen. You can also talk with your kids about how cooking is a skill they can use for the rest of their lives. Cooking is a valuable life skill that can be used to save money, stay healthy, and meet new friends.