With the winter weather keeping kids indoors, it can be difficult to find activities to keep them busy and entertained without turning on the TV. But how can you play games or read them a book when you need to get dinner started?
Here's an idea: why not cook with the kids? Involving children in meal preparation can teach them about things like measuring and counting, following directions, coordination and the chance to learn about nutrition. And by including them in preparing Italian food or having an Asian Night, there's also the opportunity to teach children about different cultures.
So how can you include your children in the kitchen? Incorporate them into every step of the cooking process! Below are 7 ways to introduce kids to cooking.
7 Ways to cook with kids (and make it fun)
Planning and shopping for the meal
Ask the kids to help pick out what to eat for dinner using a cookbook or a recipe website, then take them shopping so they can help select the ingredients. If your child helps select the new veggie or ingredient the meal requires, they're more likely to try it at dinner time.
Washing and preparing to cook
Teach your kids good hygiene practices by having them wash their hands before touching any food. They can also help by wiping down counters and utensils used to prep the meal.
Cleaning and preparing veggies
Making a salad or vegetable dish? Have your kids help by having them wash the vegetables. They can also tear lettuce for salad or clean corn, shell peas, peel potatoes, etc.
Measuring, pouring and stirring ingredients
Are your kids learning to count? Practice with them by having them help measure out ingredients during meal prep. Toddlers and very young children can have fun pouring measured-out ingredients into the pot or stirring them.
Monitoring cooking time
This is a good activity if your kids are learning to tell time. Have them set the timer and ask them to give you updates on how much longer the dish has to cook until the timer goes off.
Adding toppings and seasonings
Recruit your kids to be creative and add toppings, spices and herbs to your dishes. Just set out the toppings you want them to use and let them go to town!
Show your children how to store any leftover food and what to do with their dishes.
Cooking with your kids can be a fun and interactive way to bring the whole family together. We hope you use these tips to have a great time with your children and enjoy a yummy meal!