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Cooking with kids - tips for making it fun and safe

Monday, November 28, 2011 Leave a Comment

Written by Emily Patterson(@epatt1062) on behalf of Primrose Schools: childhood education and child care services
Most families agree that the kitchen is the heart of the home. But there’s more to do in the kitchen than just eat!

Cooking with young children is a rewarding activity and it encourages the family unit to work alongside each other, building memories in the process. Many parents are hesitant to cook with young children because of the dangers that lurk within these four corners. Between hot stoves, sizzling pans and boiling pots of water, the cooking environment is packed with hazards.

Although a child should never be left unsupervised in the kitchen, cooking with a child is a wonderful opportunity to learn and share together. Furthermore, you can introduce the art of responsibility to your child by teaching him or her about following directions and sharing in tasks.

Before you get started, make sure you keep the kitchen safe for your little ones with these simple tips.

1. Assign your child simple tasks. By breaking down the recipe, you can easily let your little one help with the safe and less challenging chores, without becoming overwhelmed. This also reduces the chance that your child will become bored and start reaching for things. Pre-measure dry ingredients or liquids and let your child pour them in. Or, assign the job of mixing batter or rolling out dough. This sense of accomplishment will leave your child feeling proud.

2. Practice makes perfect. You can’t expect your child to master the kitchen unless there’s been opportunity for practice. Start small and let your child handle small tasks around the kitchen such as setting the table or tossing the salad. Then allow your child to “graduate” to harder tasks.

Also make sure that the tasks are age-appropriate. An older child may be able to slice veggies with a butter knife, while a younger child should only use a plastic knife with soft foods.

3. Identify kitchen hazards. The kitchen is an interesting place for a young child, and it’s easy for him or her to become preoccupied. Establish a set of rules in the kitchen for everyone to follow, and make these rules visible by hanging them on the fridge or cabinet. The rules should include what appliances should not be touched for example.
Keep in mind that kids are kids, and accidents do happen. It will be up to you to ensure the safety of your kitchen, so you may want to add an oven guard to protect against burns or spills and a non-slip mat in front of the sink.

4. Make memories. With busy schedules, it’s the quality of time spent together that matters most. Preparing meals is a great time to enjoy one another, as cooking is a necessity, and one that allows everyone to pitch in.

Not only will you be making meals together, but talking about your day and taking an interest in each other’s lives. Most importantly, have fun and don’t stress about the added mess. It’s worth the fun you’ll have!

When you sit down to have the meal together, be sure to compliment everyone with a job well done!


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Guest blogger Emily Patterson is currently working as a Marketing Support Coordinator for Primrose Schools providing written work to the blogosphere which highlights the importance, and some of the specific aspects, of a quality, early childhood, education. For over 25 years, Primrose Schools has helped individuals achieve higher levels of success by providing them with an AdvancED® accredited, early childhood, education.  Through an accelerated Balanced Learning® curriculum, Primrose Schools students are exposed to a widely diverse range of subject matter giving them a much greater opportunity to develop mentally, physically and socially.  

1 comments »

  • Liz said:  

    I love cooking with my boys - the aprons and chef hats while we roll out pizza dough - but it's more than cute outfits. It's giving them the experience of taking raw ingredients, following instructions step by step, and creating something. Thanks, Primrose School!