I love my children dearly. They are one of the favorite parts of my day. They are joy and sunshine and lift my heart when I come home from work and they run up screaming, “daddy daddy”! However, as anyone can attest who has tried, trying to do something productive with small children can be a challenge. Cooking with kids should be something we are doing, though, and with a bit of thought it should not be too hard.
We are rapidly losing the skill of cooking in the United State. We are so attached to quick convenience and having 8 million things going on at once, that taking the time to cook and ENJOY cooking is rarely an option. Extending that to cooking with kids and it just doesn’t happen. I completely understand – we have intentionally kept our life as un-hectic as possible. but the reality is that life happens. There is my work, a small business to build and run, a homestead to take care of, kids to keep from destroying everything, not to mention our marriage to attend to.
I have to intentionally take time to not only engage with the kids but to think about cooking with them. It is not always the easiest task, nor the thing I want to be bothered with doing, but cooking with kids is totally worthwhile. I am helping them develop a lifelong skill, and, most importantly, I am showing them that I love them and they are worth my time.
Where to start?
You’ve never cooked with your kids, and the only thing that you can think of is trying to make a soufflé with a 3 year old… I totally agree with you that this is not the best idea! Find something simple to start with, even if it apples and peanut butter. Have them help you get and wash the apples, you can cut them, and then have them scoop the peanut butter onto the plate. It is super basic, but it’s a great, simple place to start your kids getting used to helping in the kitchen. This can also be a time to start showing them how you use your knives properly – something you’ll want to review constantly!
Another great way to cook with your kids is to make oatmeal with them. Two ingredients and a bit of time make it a simple way to have fun with your kids without much to mess up. I did this the other morning with our girls (age 3 & 4) and it went quite well. Plus they always love getting to pick their own toppings for their bowls of oatmeal.
Have you always wondered if oats are gluten free? Go check out our post!
Here are a few tips to help you cook with kids:
- Find a Simple Recipe: Don’t go crazy to start with. Go for oatmeal or maybe a simple bread. That way you can focus on the process and having fun with your kids instead of making sure everything is done perfectly.
- Have Them Measure: Have your kids help you measure. My girls love to help measure even simple things like baking powder and dumping them in the bowl.
- Don’t Worry about the Mess: Be careful, but don’t sweat if they spill. Things might get messy. That is then a good opportunity to help them learn how to clean up as well
- Most Importantly, Have Fun! Enjoy the process; our kids are only kids for so long. Enjoy them at the age they are.
Now get out there and have some fun!