Encouraging children to do chores around the house from a young age can help them to develop a sense of independence and responsibility. Cooking is a necessary skill that presents an educational opportunity to children in a very fun way. When looking for things to do with kids on Long Island, why not make it a day in the kitchen? Here are 5 ways to get kids cooking:
- Plan Meals as a Family
By having children take an active part in planning family meals for the week, they will realize they have a very important role when it comes to making decisions in the kitchen. Together as a family, sit down and determine a schedule alternating what jobs each person will complete on a daily basis. Some tasks to complete may include setting the table, choosing the meal, preparing food, serving food, and cleaning the plates.
- Bring Children Food Shopping
After you determine what meals you will be preparing for the week, create a shopping list. Older children can help to write down ingredients or search for coupons in the weekly paper. Give them recipes in order to help determine what is needed for the week and how much of each ingredient. Once you’re at the store, help kids to locate each item and price it out together. Not only are they becoming familiar with different foods, they’re also practicing important math and reading skills.
- Assign Age-Appropriate Jobs in the Kitchen
While an older child may be able to help cut up vegetables with a heavy plastic knife, a young child will be better suited to help stir, tear up lettuce, or wash vegetables. If children get frustrated, remind them that just because they may be wiping down the table or gathering ingredients today, all great chefs are created by patience and practice!
- Help Kids with the Difficult Parts
For more challenging meals, you may want to pre-cut, measure, and store ingredients earlier in the day. Less picky eaters may be inclined to prepare their own concoctions out of stored ingredients as well – so encourage kids to assemble their own snacks, sandwiches, and lunch by leaving healthy meal components within their reach.
- Experiment with New Foods Together
The only way for anyone to appreciate new foods is to try them out! Allow kids to choose one new fruit or vegetable while at the store, and find a recipe to prepare it. During your taste test, encourage your kids to describe what they’re eating. Is it spicy? Crunchy? Sweet? By trying new things together, you’re expanding your meal options as a family and learning personal taste preferences.
The most important thing to remember when cooking with children is to practice kitchen safety, supervise, and have fun! Stay up to date with our blog for more fun activities and tips for busy families.