Enjoy family time with the youngest ones is always a pleasure, though you need a lot of energy and creativity. Cooking with children is a great way to spend some time together at home. Our kids watch us every day transforming pieces of food with mystery tools into delicious dishes… it’s a kind of magic. But maybe you don’t think about how wonderful can be to bring them into the world of cooking.
Cooking as a learning tool
We talk about a learning tool for them and us too. Parents spend time with children working in a funny and dynamic task and several members of the family can be part of it at the same time, as a team.
Cooking with our children bring us a chance of watching them concentrated in several planned activities and following instructions. A common goal to achieve in a path full of little problems to solve and changes, but with a final reward: a dish everybody in the family will enjoy.
Benefits for children’s motor skills
Children develop creativity and imagination with you thinking about recipes and cooking. They learn to pay attention to small details, to name foods they already know, and to discover new ones.
Small tasks like shaping bakery, draw pancakes, learning about quantities, being accurate holding tools with their hands… are just a few of the benefits for the fine motor skills of the kids.
Emotional relationships and communication
Baking a sponge cake together can be a great way to strengthen the relationship between parents and children. Kids know they are developing an adult kind of work and they are doing it with their parents, spending time with them.
The communication needed to achieve the different steps of a recipe will benefit language skills too and the ability to express wishes, disagreement or just to do questions. Therefore, we will create a confidence environment for them. We will also go through a field full of little frustrations since we will manage new challenges and sometimes things just don’t work. A very good way to reinforce self-confidence.
When we cook together, we work together. Children realize how to manage different tasks and why every member of the team is important to succeed and reach the same goal. This way of working is also linked with discipline and planning, but that does not mean work could not be funny.
Adult tasks usually have something enigmatic for our children. The fact that they can help adults and see how things work at home will probably make them feel better and improve their self-confidence. And they can also see how the daily tools in the kitchen are not as mysterious as they look like at first. Anyway, modern household appliances have improved safety for children enough to make us feel comfortable in the kitchen.
Foods: classroom experiences
Going to the market is a great leap for a kid into the nutritional world. They can experience many different situations helping parents with household tasks and make decisions in the family.
Cooking food we have just bought at the local market is the next step to get closer to how nutrition works. New textures, colors, shapes, and flavors to discover every day and to name.
Learning to eat
We teach our children about how valuable is food, and we also stimulate their appetite and push them to try different recipes. Maybe they find vegetables more appealing if they have cooked them with you. And maybe we also feel like tasting new dishes or those we did not like before, everybody learns!
How can we begin?
Time is usually the main issue to solve when we want to spend time with our kids. But we can improve that planning and rustling up some recipes: nobody wants the perfect pizza, but they definitely would like a dish made with love. Anyway, there are some interesting tips to make everything easier:
- We need to arrange our kitchen space for children. Prepare some kitchen tools they can use, get a working area where they can play and cook with you and where they can not fall to the ground, and feel safe and comfortable.
- When is it better to begin to cook with them? Around 4 or 5 years old. Children’s psychomotricity is enough developed for easy responsibilities and tasks. Maybe they can not carve a turkey but they can help you to do funny and creative shapes with the bakery.
- Compile some useful recipes to cook with children, we will give you some clues through our blog but you can also introduce them to the cooking universe with easy actions: search for some spices in the shelf, wash lettuce and fruits or set the table are part of the daily cooking activities too.
One thing we are sure about: cooking with children is going to be very, very funny and will have unforgettable moments and mutual understanding forever.