6 Helpful Tips & Tricks for Cooking with Kids!!
Cooking with kids doesn’t have to be scary or overwhelming. Wile it takes and extra step of caution and some additional monitoring before you let them loose on their own, this space makes the perfect setting for learning and building that ever so important family time!
These 6 things will not only make your time with the kids more enjoyable but it will also teach them how to be self sufficient when cooking meals as they get older.
Tip # 1: Use Sharp Knives
Seems crazy right?! Well there’s a reason for it. Dull knives are actually extremely dangerous and can cause more harm than good if they accidentally cut themselves (it will happen, that I can promise).
Knife accidents happen because we are adding extra pressure to get that knife to cut through an object. Knives can slip because of this causing harm. With a sharp knife, the knife is doing all the work. You’ll need very little pressure for your knife to smoothly guide through your item.
Two factors for safety are as follows:
Watch your children. make sure their fingers stay a safe distance back from the blade with their finger tips curled under. This will help them to not cut the ends of their fingers.
Second: Start with flat objects that sit firmly on the cutting board. For items that are round like and apple or onion, help them by cutting them in half and then place them on the board with the cut side facing down so the food is sitting flat for them.
Cooking with Kids Tip #2: Encourage messiness!
This tip is 2 sided.
Cleaning up as you go is a fantastic habit to encourage. This helps them to learn that cleaning up as you go keeps their space clutter free and makes for more time to do other things later on in the day.
But don’t put too much stress on them for being super clean. You don’t want to go the other way and have them to scared to make any mess at all and being fearful of upsetting us as adults.
Put the emphasis on cleaning up at the end of your project and as they grow older, work in the importance of cleaning at different points in your project (especially when it comes to adding in raw foods!!).
Tip #3: Licking Beaters & Spoons & Fingers
One thing I remember so well as a child was always getting to lick the beater or sopon after my grandmother or mom was done mixing up something sweet in the kitchen.
It was a race between myself and my two other siblings as to who got them because there’s only 2 beaters!!
Besides, not only is fun to lick your fingers (or the beaters and the spoons), but it helps kids to recognize differences with foods using all of their senses. (Just remind them of their hand washing procedures after partaking in this fun!)
Lick the beaters after whipping up cream to experience real creaminess (then add in the flavorings for an added dose of taste testing time).
Tasting a bit of the soup you made before adjusting the seasoning. You never know, you might be able to skip that extra bit of salt if they like it the way it already is!
Cooking with Kids Tip #4: Textures through touch
I don’t know how many times I have heard that someone won’t eat chicken because of how it’s feels raw.
Helping your children understand the difference in textures before, during, and after the cooking process, will not only teach them that things feel different at each stage but that it’s part of cooking.
Make meatballs from scratch one night and have them mash all the ingredients together with their hands.
Bread chicken strips by hand using the wet hand/dry hand method (one hand for picking up the un-breaded chicken and taking it out of the egg mix and the other for taking the chicken out of the flour and the bread crumbs.)
If you have a garden, how vegetables feel when they are freshly pulled from the dirt. Maybe it’s raw mushrooms and their gills vs. cooked. Children are more interested in trying new things if they have invested something in it.
Tip #5: Eating Dessert First is Okay
They spent all that time in the kitchen with you making these wonderful masterpieces!
Instead of being a killjoy & having them wait until after dinner is over to try them, let them have some when the goodies are still warm and the flavors are heightened.
It’s a great place to teach them all all about balance. Split a cookie in two to share so it doesn’t ruin dinner. They get the satisfaction of tasting their hard work, you know they’ll still eat their dinner.
Cooking with Kids Tip #6: Perfect timing doesn't exist
Life is busy. Between the new work/school schedule and routines or maybe it’s getting back into the old routines slowly. There is no such thing as perfect timing when it comes to teaching kids how to cook.
No, I don’t have any of my own (though I am a kick ass Aunt, if I do say so myself). I have been fortunate enough to watch my nieces and nephews grow into the kitchen and learn the importance of respecting food, the tools needed to make the fun dishes they love to eat.
A batch of cookies doesn’t take long. Maybe during the family planning for the week add in a fun recipe everyone can do together. My favorite, dad and daughter time (or it could be date with x and x) and it’s some one on one time. Point is, get it in. It’s important on so many levels, not just learning how to cook.
Before long, you’ll be reminding them to make their own cupcakes for the school bakesale!
Are your kids interested in cooking?
I would love to help each them! Drop me a line through our contact form and let’s talk classes. They start at $175 for the first 2 children and then $65/child after that (plus the cost of food and taxes). Each child will receive their own cutting board, knife and apron. I have openings in July and August for a few lessons. These are great activities for birthday parties.