Giving kids an opportunity to help prepare meals is a great way to spend some quality time together. These fun meals to cook with kids come with a wide range of benefits for both you and your kids.
If you have a picky eater, there is no better way to get them to try new things, than fun meals to cook with kids. When children are given the opportunity to participate in the meal making they are far more likely to try new things but that is not the only benefit.
Fun Meals to Cook With Kids is a Complete Learning Experience For the Kids
Homeschool parents have known for a long time that fun meals to cook with kids is an easy way to sneak in age-appropriate chemistry lessons (think of the reaction when you bake together), a math lesson (measuring is math), and life lessons (you cannot skip directions).
The kitchen in most homes is the heart of the home and it can be a classroom as well. Of course, the kids have such a good time with fun meals to cook with kids that they never realize exactly how much they are learning.
The kids will learn how to measure which is a math basic. They will learn about patience. They can learn about timing and a wide range of other things that they will use throughout their life. Of course, they also learn that fun meals to cook with kids can create something really great to eat.
It is A Great Way to Teach About Different Cultures
Some savvy parents take cooking with kids to a whole new level of learning by making a meal into a cultural learning experience. They have themed meal nights. For example, one of the easiest fun meals to cook with kids is spaghetti and meatballs, a favored meal from the Italian cuisine handbook. On “Italy night” you can cook up a bowl of steaming spaghetti and meatballs and serve it with Italian music playing in the background. Conversations can be focused on how simple words are translated into Italian and how kids in Italy do things. To get the conversation started just do a little background research like:
- What is the number one sport in Italy that kids participate in?
- What famous fairytales come from Italy?
- Are there beaches in Italy? Mountains? What do people do for fun?
You can turn one night a week into a complete learning experience. You can follow the same script for meals that are traditional from around the globe. For example, Japanese food (often easy to prepare and full of high nutrient-dense foods) can be served on the living room floor using a table cloth and some pillows with some Japanese music playing in the background.
Fun meals to cook with kids can turn ordinary meals into an extraordinary memory for your kids, and the best part, it does not take a lot of effort on your part at all. You get to teach your kids some really valuable lessons in the kitchen, expose them to other cultures, and enjoy the moment, all while you get breakfast, lunch or dinner out of the way.
Diet Control Made Fun
Nutrition is so important to the human body. Of course, it can be difficult when you are combating advertising and well-meaning friends and family that hand out cookies and other junk food. Even your dentist will agree that diet really matters.
Fun meals to cook with kids can be a great way to control what your child puts in their body at least a big part of the time. Everything from how your kids sleep at night to how healthy a kids mouth comes down to diet. Cooking with your kids will help you to snake in those good for you foods without a fight.
Cooking with kids shows them that there are alternatives to sugary sweets and empty calories. For example, great tasting, easy to make banana pancakes recipe delivers that sweet punch without all the sugar.
Letting the kids help in the kitchen can help them develop a love for healthy food options, instead of processed not so good for you food. For example, instead of taking out pizza, you can create “ gourmet pizzas” using a wide range of veggies as toppings and even use a cauliflower crust to really add some nutritional punch.
Fun meals to cook with kids can be a great way to show your kids that “good for you” does not have to mean “taste bad”. Of course, you get the benefit of taking control of your kid’s meals without having to deal with complaints and requests for fast foods.
Instill a Sense of Pride
These fun meals to cook with kids will give kids a feeling of pride and accomplishment. They will jump at the opportunity to try something that they helped to create. Mealtimes can go from a fuss fest to a wonderful time around the table where no one is complaining.
Little hands in the kitchen can be a great help. Cooking together can be a great deal of fun, and give you that one on one time with your kids that helps you to stay connected. Children as young as 2 can help out in the kitchen. Fun meals to cook with kids is a great way to connect with kids of all ages.
Choosing Which Fun Meals to Cook With Kids
There are a lot of different meals that you can cook with kids. The right fun meals to cook with kids should be:
- Recipes that are easy to follow.
- Recipes that have ingredients that are affordable and easy to find.
- Recipes that are easy to pull together quickly.
Fun meals to cook with kids should not be a time that you want to polish your skill set by trying something difficult like cooking a souffle. Keep it simple so that you and the kids can focus in on the fun and less on the technique.
Don’t set yourself up for failure by telling the kids you will be cooking together today, only to find that you cannot find exotic ingredients. Stay away from recipes that require gourmet or exotic ingredients that cannot be found at your local grocer. You want to keep the stress down when you plan on cooking together.
Kids are kids, and most are not known for their patience. Look for fun meals to cook with kids where the prep time and cooking time combined stay under 1.5 hours. Under an hour would actually be best. You do not want to lose your assistant halfway through the process, keeping recipes short and sweet, is a great approach to ensure that they make it to the finish line.
You should also consider age appropriateness of the recipe. For example, taco pizza can be a great option for the little ones under age 5. It is a simple recipe and is done pretty quickly. You want to challenge the kids a bit, but you do not want to make so challenging that they cannot participate.
Consider the level of difficulty of the recipes that you choose based on your child’s age, and their fine motor skills. For example, a 4-year-old can participate in making a sushi roll, but they will not likely be able to create a finished product, but a 12-year-old could.
Choose recipes that they can help with and feel accomplished. Don’t overtax them with too many ingredients or techniques that result in them sitting on the sidelines while you manage most of the work. Remember, fun meals to cook with kids, have to be fun for the kids or they will lose interest in helping.
Make It Easy for Them to Work In the Kitchen With You
You want to make sure that you have the right tools and equipment on hand to pull the recipes together. Stools are a handy addition to the kitchen when you plan on letting the kids help with cooking. Keep in mind, safety first. Check with restaurant supply stores to find safety equipment for your home kitchen like non-slip mats, and other items that will help to keep the kids safe while they learn how to cook.
Preparing your kitchen for little helpers really comes down to moving a few things around to ensure that the little ones can’t grab hold of something that can hurt them, and having kid-sized tools that they can use, and manage well.
For example, knives should always be kept out of reach, the stove needs to be off-limits until they are old enough to really understand the consequences of what hot can mean. Typically, 12 years old and up is when kids can start stirring things on the stove, before that age, even supervised stove activities can be dangerous.
Of course, having the right tools and equipment on hand will also make the entire process easier for you. If you are working with any faulty appliances in the kitchen call in a local appliance repair specialist and get it fixed.
You want the entire experience to be fun for you and the kids. Getting appliance repairs done so that everything in the kitchen is working as it should, will keep the stress levels down for you, and let you fully immerse in the experience.
Let Them Make Mistakes
We all learn from our mistakes. While you do not want to give your kids complete control in the kitchen, because after all, you do want to be able to eat what you create together, but you do want to let them make some choices.
For example, you are making a simple lasagna and the recipe calls for mozzarella cheese, but your kid is not a fan of mozzarella (this is just an example we all know all kids love “pizza cheese”) they may want to try cheddar or another cheese. Get a separate smaller pan, and let them create their version. Don’t fill the pan, just make it large enough for a single serving. Maybe they will eat it and love their own version, maybe they will learn that it is important to follow the recipe.
The point is letting them make decisions in the kitchen is an important part of the lessons they will learn while creating these great memories. Another example is in baking, kids often think that more of a good thing will make their confectionary creations taste even better. Let them whip up a small batch of those chocolate chip cookies with the extra sugar and chocolate chips. It can be a valuable lesson that more is something just more and not better.
Focus on the Fun
Fun meals to cook with kids may generate more of a mess in the kitchen than you like, but that is okay. Focus on the fun, and incorporate clean up into the process. The mess can always be cleaned up, but the good memories will never be replaced.
Focus on making the process a good time for the kids. If you want to keep the mess to a minimum, make cleanup duties part of the process, use tools, and supplies that make clean up easy. Paper plates and cups come in really handy when time is of the essence and you want to easily be able to clear away the mess.
Set a system up where every utensil that is used is put right in the sink or the dishwasher. Mixing bowls are rinsed right after use and put in the dishwasher or hand washed. Stopping to clean as you go will help to keep the mess down, and of course, teach your kids that it is easier to clean up as you go instead of dealing with a big mess in the end.
Enjoy the process. Kids grow and go in the blink of an eye. Fun meals to cook with kids are a great way to create wonderful family memories in the kitchen and teach some very valuable life lessons. Get in the kitchen and start trying out some easy to pull together recipes made for little hands to help with.
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