If you are like most families, you spend a lot of time in the kitchen. In fact, kitchens are usually the family gathering place. Wouldn’t it be nice if your children could learn early to enjoy cooking? This is not an impossible task. Marie Williams from Planen.Co.Uk looks at seven different ways you can help your kids develop a love of working in the kitchen.
1. Develop Games Such As Spelling With Food
For young children you may want to turn cooking into a game. For instance, how about making a pan of biscuits and then using icing to form different letters on the top? Invite your kids to form words, perhaps starting with their names. The kitchen will smell great, iced biscuits taste wonderful, and your kids will have a lot of fun!
2. Make A Healthy Diet Fun
While your kids are young is the best time to help them learn about proper nutrition. On the kitchen counter, lay out a number of different fresh ingredients. Make sure you include colorful fruits and vegetables. Then, using a safe knife, have your children cut them into fun shapes.
Try a funny fruit salad made up of fruity faces. They might use cherries for eyes, a carrot for a nose and perhaps some blueberries to form a smiling mouth. As your kids enjoy themselves, be sure to explain why each piece of fruit is a healthy choice.
3. Let Your Kids Earn Some Money in the Kitchen
Children need to have a way of earning money. After all, they are too young to get jobs and earn a regular paycheck! Why not assign them different chores in the kitchen and attach a monetary value to them?
Perhaps they can earn fifty cents for loading the dishwasher and another fifty cents for unloading it and putting the clean dishes away. Make sure you are doing something in the kitchen while they are working, thus reinforcing that the kitchen is a fun room to be in.
4. Let Your Child Host Their Own “Cooking Show”
You’ve probably watched dozens of cooking shows on television. Why not have your child be the star of his or her own show?
Have them prepare their favorite dish, explaining each step as they go along. If you have a video camera, record their show and then sit down and watch it together as a family. What child wouldn’t love that kind of attention?
5. Have Your Children Create Their Own Menu
Children love to be given responsibility. Once they understand proper nutrition, ask them to make up a menu for a family meal.
If it’s dinner, have them choose a salad, entree, vegetables, and even dessert! This will provide a great opportunity to discuss balanced meals and stir their creativity as you discuss presentation.
Once the meal is prepared, sit down as a family and enjoy it together. Make sure they get plenty of praise for a job well done.
6. Have Your Child Design a Kitchen
This may sound a little daring. But why not have your child draw pictures of his or her “perfect” kitchen? This will let them think about all the possibilities. You can discuss things like blenders, food processors, cheese graters, garlic presses, and the myriad of other things that go into making a first class kitchen.
7. Finally, Teach Your Children to Take Pride In Their Work
If you have followed the first six steps, this step will not be difficult at all. Praise your children for their contributions in food preparation. But also praise them for their help in cleaning up afterwards.
When clean up is done as a family, children will have a sense of accomplishment. When you stand back after the kitchen is all cleaned up and admire a job well done, your kids will feel as good about it as you do.
Developing a love of cooking is a true gift you can give to your children. Start young, work with them, give them praise and teach them skills. All of these things will enhance their enjoyment of working in the kitchen while drawing you closer together as a family.
Amy Rice writes about kitchen design and baking for children, when not writing she enjoys swimming and playing adventure golf.