When I was about ten, I had a Sunday afternoon tradition of baking a cake. They were dry, dense, flat and covered with runny brightly coloured icing. Sounds delicious right? Well my ten-year-old self thought so and my parents didn’t lead me to believe any differently. Right from an early age I was encouraged to spend time in the kitchen, learning how to cook and experimenting myself. There were some disasters but as I spent more time cooking, my confidence grew and the disasters became less frequent.
Cooking with kids can be oodles of fun, immensely rewarding and oh so messy. But getting kids enthused about cooking and teaching them how to be safe while doing it can be the challenge. Here are a few tips…
Encouraging a love of cooking
- if you have a younger toddler, bring their high chair into the kitchen while you are cooking and explain what you are doing at each step. They will love the interaction with you and learn so much along the way
- at the grocery store talk to your kids about various ingredients to get them familiar with different fruits and vegetables and other healthy ingredient. Make up a game of “vegetable bingo” or “spot the ingredient” to make it fun
- get the kids involved in choosing recipes and your menu planning each wee. Give them a cookbook or selection of recipes and let them each choose one – they are more likely to eat it if they have chosen it!
- if your kids are old enough you can make a weekly challenge for who can cook the best dinner for the week
- easy tasks for younger kids are: washing vegetables, stirring, tipping ingredients into a mixer and rolling meatballs
- older kids can get a bit more in involved preparation and cooking under supervision
Keeping kids safe in the kitchen
Always ensure there is an adult (someone over the age of 18) around watching and helping. It’s important to allow older children (ages 12-16) an opportunity to do some kitchen preparation with supervision at a safe distance. For younger children(ages 6-12), it’s recommended that an adult is always watching.
Keep liquids away from electrical cords and appliances to prevent electrical accidents. Consider the next time the electrician is around, to have them check power points in the kitchen and ensure all kitchen wiring is safe.
The importance of a clean space and being a clean chef is vital. Encourage the kids to keep clean with a new apron and to clean as they go. Not only does this make cleaning up at the end easier, it’s safer to work in a clean, organised space and helps prevent cross contamination.“Use separate chopping boards when preparing meats and vegetables, different knives to cut chicken to vegetables and always wash hands in between different food preparation tasks”, says Karen Koutsodontis, Director of The Travelling Kitchen.
“Emphasising the importance of washing hands doesn’t have to take away from the enjoyment of preparing a meal, consider singing a song with little ones while washing hands together. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, is a great song as it takes as long to sing, as it does to thoroughly wash hands,” adds Director of First Aid For you, Mary Dawes.
Having a first aid kit IN the kitchen and showing the kids what each component is for will ensure they know where to go and what to use, should an emergency arise.
Education is key in these situations and First Aid For You’sFirst Aid For Kids Workshops (suitable for kids aged 4-12 years) will equip the youngest members of our community with vital first aid skills. Contact First Aid For You 1300 853 050 for more information. Visit The Travelling Kitchen online about their incursions.
How do you encourage your kids in the kitchen?
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