For many, the kitchen is the heart of the home and where we spend a lot of our day. If you’re trying to keep kids entertained while whipping up family meals, or are nervous about having small hands around while preparing ingredients, check out these tips for how to safely and effectively have your kids keep busy in the kitchen:
Tip #1: Ask your kids to wash vegetables before you slice them. This is a great opportunity to teach children why we wash our vegetables before cooking and is also a foolproof way to get everybody to wash their hands!
Tip #2: With extra helpers available, it is a great time to chop a variety of meats and veggies. Save time and do your chopping all at once, with your little helpers putting everything into separate ziplocked baggies. Once the kids bag and tag the meats and vegetables, pop them in the freezer and use them when you are ready.
Tip #3: Having kids involved in the kitchen is a great teaching moment for adults and a great learning opportunity for the littles. Have them do the scooping and pouring of ingredients into plastic measuring cups. Not only are they learning how to cook a recipe, but you can also slip in a little math lesson while they are measuring. A win-win!
Tip #4: Encourage your kids to explore cookbooks and websites for recipes. This is a great way for kids to discover all different kinds of cuisines and ingredients and is a perfect way for you to help them expand their palates. Since this will help everyone get more invested in the meal, it also means the kids will be more likely to eat it!
Tip #5: Create a kids’ cooking station at the table or counter far away from the heat for safety. As a bonus, they’ll see this as their own special space, and there are tons of ways to get creative with mini-kitchen names and artwork.
Tip #6: Be sure to let your little chefs taste the dish to determine if it needs additional seasoning. This is an easy way to get them involved and they will be more engaged and learn to be a great “taster.”
Tip #7: The final tip, and most importantly, is to make sure to praise your child’s cooking efforts often. This will help to encourage their passion for cooking and will keep them engaged in the kitchen!