4 Tips for Cooking with Kids

If the kitchen is the heart of the home, and your children bring life to the house, consider the possibilities mixing the two would bring. Invite your children into the kitchen and arm them with the tools and space to make messy masterpieces! Messy masterpieces, you say? Sounds like a nightmare; however, their curious minds will entertain, their creativity will amaze and the quality time together will produce a new family favorite on an old dish.

Forget the visions of flour flying everywhere and sitting on the floor crying over spilt milk. The reality is you and your children can both enjoy this experience and be productive. In order to set yourself up for success when cooking with the kids consider the following:

Boundaries, you have them in all rooms of your house. Explore the boundaries you have set in your kitchen. Is there a special bowl or dish that you would be devastated should it get broken? Set that aside for something only a grown up can use. Are you getting the nervous sweats and racing heart just thinking about flour flying out of the mixer? Select a dish that doesn’t require as much flour or can be hand mixed. You have the power to control the environment once you identify your boundaries and by doing that you and your child will have quality time in the kitchen.

Safety is a big factor. You’ve seen your child with scissors, so you’ll know if they are ready for working with knives. If you fear watching your child use a knife, see if they can use scissors to cut, or prepare the ingredients that need cut prior to starting your adventure in the kitchen with your child. Will you need to use open flames? If so, consider the clothing you and your child wear, avoid loose or hanging clothes. Also, orientate your child to where the nearest fire extinguisher and first aid kit is located.

Recipe, it’s all about perfect fit. Evaluate a recipe, starting with number of ingredients. More complex recipes will have several ingredients increasing the chances for a measurement error. Preparation instructions need to be clear and comprehendible for the age of child you are working with. Method of cooking needs to be age appropriate as well. Your 4 year old probably shouldn’t know how to fry something, just like your 14 year old will not be as interested in baking all their dishes.

Interesting - as all great adventures turn out to be - will set you up for success. If your child loves desserts, keep it interesting by trying new dessert dishes or creating your own wild family recipe for everything but the kitchen sink cookies!

Now you’re ready. Sure the flour will fly and you might lose an oven mitt learning to cook with your child, but think of the memories you’ll share when you both look back on the day you coated the kitchen with brownie batter. So don those matching aprons, break out the secret family recipes and set to work whipping up some creative, edible fun with your kids.