Cooking with your family can be a great way to spend quality time together. Not only does it give kids the opportunity to make fun family memories, learn vital new skills, grow in confidence and develop a healthy appreciation of food and cooking, but it’s an activity that can be enjoyed by kids across all age groups. It can help keep toddlers and young children busy and engaged in a constructive activity and provide a fulfilling and meaningful way to spend time with older kids.
Preparing a meal together as a family can:
- Help kids learn essential cooking skills that will help them as they grow up and become more independent
- Help them understand the importance of healthy eating and cooking as they discover new foods and their nutritional value
- Help build confidence as they develop their abilities and see how far they’ve come
- Allow them to explore new flavours, tastes and recipes, making them more open to trying new foods and meals
- Give family members time to bond and communicate in a fun and relaxed environment
Cooking with younger kids can be a challenge to start with. Here are a few tips to help you along the way:
1.Give yourself plenty of time
The reality is recipes that take you 10 minutes to make will likely take more time when the whole family is involved. Try to give yourself enough time to cook slowly and allow for a few extra delays or disasters so you don’t end up getting anxious or stressed. We know how frustrating it can be when a task that would normally take you 1 minute takes 10 instead, but try to focus on the confidence, trust and skill that’s being built by each little task. It’ll take time, but after some practice things will move faster.
2. Try not to worry about the mess
It’s highly likely that the kitchen will become messy and disorganised when you cook with young kids! Try not to let it stress you out – have fun in the moment and then ask the kids help with the cleaning and washing up when you’re done.
3. Start slowly and build up
While some kids may be able to quickly handle certain utensils and tasks, others may need more time to watch and learn, and therefore be more suited to carrying out simple tasks like stirring. Start off slowly and keep things simple before you let them take on new challenges as they grow in confidence and ability.
Here are some fun and easy things to cook as a family:
This is an easy go-to when cooking with young kids. Fun and extremely easy, they’ll love pouring in the ingredients, mixing the batter and lining the tins. With no sharp utensils involved, it’s a winner.
Make easy mini pizzas anytime by getting your kids to top English muffins or pizza bases with different toppings. Prepare a bunch of toppings such as tomatoes, grated cheese, chopped up ham, peppers and mushrooms. The kids can then mix and match their favourites, pop them in the oven and enjoy.
Pancakes are a really easy breakfast to make as a family. Kids will love mixing the batter and the joy of flipping the pancakes in the pan with your help. Prepare a variety of toppings such as chopped fruit, nuts and yoghurt. These toppings are great for letting the little ones create fun designs such as smiley faces on their pancakes.
Teach your kids how to chop and sauté different veggies, grate cheese, and learn the importance of properly cooking meats such as chicken to make fajitas. Plus, they’ll love assembling their own wraps at the dinner table.