Anyone with kids, especially young children, knows that trying to do an involved activity with them can be challenging. As much as you want to engage with them, it can be challenging when they are grabbing things and touching the wrong thing at the wrong time. I can 100% relate to this, and yet it is worth it! Our kiddos grow up just like we do, in many ways they grow up faster. They will only be at a certain stage for a little while, which, yes, can be a blessing as well. My little boy won’t be at the age where he giggles hysterically because of how fast he can walk for very long. Other blessings will come to replace that, but that thing will be gone forever very soon. This is why I think cooking with our kids is so important. It enables us to spend time with them at almost any age, teach them a life skill, and have fun. Most traditional cultures spend a huge amount of quality time centered around prepping food, and maybe that’s something we need to learn from.
You might be thinking, “but I don’t have kids, this can’t be for me.” Maybe it’s not, but do you have a niece or nephew, or grandkids or friends with kids? Cooking is a great activity to do with kids in your extended family as well.
Here are 5 reasons cooking with kids is important:
It caters to food allergies:
This blog and our business Off Kilter Brownies is mostly aimed at people who need to eat gluten and/or grain free. While I do try to make sure that we talk about how to eat out and great local options in our area to go to, one of the easiest ways to make sure you have allergen free food to eat is to make it yourself. It’s not always easy to find options for certain food allergies. Taking the time to bake that gluten or dairy free cookie with your kids is an easy way to make something special for them, while not breaking the bank and also spending time with them.
The Skill Level can be scaled with their Age:
A 15 year old is clearly capable of a lot more than a 4 year old. Cooking with your kids can easily be adjusted to how old and how skilled they are. This enables you to properly challenge your kids and help them grow but also keep it fun. Is your 16 year old super interested in cooking and likes playing with technology? Great! Help them make Beef Wellington. Your 5 year old also wants to cook too? Awesome! Have them help you make the salad or brownies. Get them a ceramic knife, or a knife designed for kids, and cut up those avocados and lettuce and cucumbers. That is one reason we made our brownies so straight forward. It’s an easy recipe to make with your 4 year old, or make it super fancy with your teenager. Food is so easy to scale!
It helps build life skills:
Cooking with kids helps them build one of the most important life skills, how to feed themselves! Prepackaged or restaurant food is not always available. Perhaps a natural disaster happens and no place is open. Maybe it’s late and no place is open. Even more likely, most of our budgets aren’t set to be eating out all the time or always buying premade foods. Making your own food is drastically less expensive than buying it already prepared. It is also always a hit with other people if you can make a fantastic meal all from scratch!
Bless Others with Food:
In my opinion, one of the best ways to bless others is with tasty food. When people are sick, or just had a baby, or had a job loss, or even just randomly, they are always grateful to have a delicious meal provided for them. Use the opportunity to teach your kids the importance of loving others and being generous. It’s always a great way to help them understand food allergies and how to adapt their cooking depending on the circumstances.
Cooking with kids is a great way to have fun and enjoy your kids. Don’t worry about making it fancy if you don’t want to. Have fun even just making oatmeal with the kids. It’s about spending time with your kids more than it is making the food itself. Don’t worry too much about whether it comes out just right, enjoy the process!
In the end, cooking with your kids should be fun, it should help them grow and be prepared for life and help them learn to bless others. In the end, it’s about being with them and enjoying the experience. Let them spill things, and maybe even mess things up a bit. I have to remember this, too. Enjoy the age they are at, and remember it will pass soon.
Make it a tasty day,