By Samantha Donohue, for SparkPeople
Turn cooking into a family affair by promoting your kids to assistant chefs. Here are some quick and easy ways to get them involved.
Help them plan.
Let your children create the menu. Teach them how to plan a balanced meal. Plan around what's in season and make it a goal to include lots of fruits and vegetables. My kids and I love to use Zisboombah.com to plan balanced meals.
Make it fun and educational.
Learning to cook is fun because it's hands-on and experiential. You can cover a whole range of topics, including math (measure ingredients), reading (recipe instructions), fine motor skills (cooking techniques), and science (chemical and physical reactions).
Remind them wash their hands thoroughly with warm soapy water. Have them put on an apron to protect clothing, roll-up sleeves and pull back hair. Talk about safety and only give them age appropriate tasks. I always have my kids work on a cookie sheet to minimize mess and clear working boundaries avoid sibling rivalries.
Don't forget to clean up.
A family that cooks together also cleans together. Teach them where things go so they can put ingredients, bowls and utensils away. Let them load the dishwasher and show them how to sweep the floor.
Let them do as much as possible. Here are tasks your kids may able to handle on their own.
- Measure ingredients
- Mix ingredients
- Spread sauces, dips, and other items
- Tear up leafy veggies or herbs
- Cut with a plastic knife
- Mash items up with a fork or a masher
- Knead and shape dough
- Sprinkle toppings
- Thread food on a stick
- Shake up ingredients in a bag or jar
- Roll into a ball
- Cut into pieces with scissors
- Squeeze citrus fruits
- Pull off steams or peel fruits and veggies
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