Admit it, you too have been impressed with what children participants on Master Chef Junior whip up. The show is proof that a kitchen shouldn’t have age restrictions. Under supervision, it can be a space for your children to have fun and learn at the same time.
Some at this point may be thinking about the dangers of potential burns and cuts but really, as mentioned, with supervision and ground rules, these can be easily avoided.
Also think about the benefits of getting them in the kitchen. Cooking exposes them to flavors, smells, textures, and also gives them ample opportunities to experiment. You can also sneak in some lessons on healthy eating and hygiene. Sure, in the end, your kitchen might be a little more messy than usual but it’s just going to make some good childhood memories.
Just hear us out and we will show you how you can design a kid friendly kitchen.
Equipping your kitchen
Nobody likes sitting in the corner when there is so much action happening all around. The same goes for children in the kitchen. There is no other way to develop their interest in cooking. You will have to give them a hands-on experience.
Now to ensure your kid is fascinated enough to step into the kitchen, think colors and consider appropriate sizes. Simple things like buying colorful, non-breakable mixing bowls, cups, chopping boards, and other utensils can make prepping meals a lot of fun for children. Many online stores sell plastic knives. You can also consider purchasing those.
Then buy some kitchen staples in smaller sizes specifically for your child. Also pay attention to some handy tools that can make work in the kitchen a lot easier. We are talking about things like peelers, graters, or even power tools like electronic blenders for making smoothies and soups. They allow children to participate in more activities whilst being safe.
You will have to supervise their kitchen activities and make sure they are aware of safety precautions. So cook with your children when you have the time to be patient with them.
Wondering at what age you can let your child in the kitchen? It’s actually simple.
Parents of some grown up children can surely vouch for the fact that it’s more challenging to develop your kid’s cooking habit when they grow up. As an adult, cooking can easily be a chore but as a kid it’s fun and always a pleasure.
Your little one can begin as early as when they are five years old. Washing vegetables, stirring ingredients, mashing potatoes, you can appoint them as your personal helper. Get your child in an apron of his own and get him busy. The point in the beginning is to arouse their interest.
Usually around the age of seven, kids have been known to grasp the basic cooking techniques. You can teach your child to measure ingredients, peel vegetables or potatoes, make dough, beat eggs and such. It depends on your child’s abilities as well. Some grasp these techniques faster and you can steadily build on it.
Children of 10 years and above can be involved in planning meals and carrying out tasks with more independence. Supervision is still necessary but a 10-year-old, for example, can be taught to make French toast. With your guidance, preteens are also capable of cooking macaroni, making sandwiches, creating pizza toppings, or baking cookies.
When children are familiar with cooking ingredients and the way a kitchen operates, they are naturally more inclined to be willing to prepare meals. It’s important not to make this a chore though. Reserve a couple of hours every weekend to help them indulge in the parts of cooking that they are interested in. This is more about tapping into their curiosities about food and cooking methods and taking it from there on. Maintaining their enthusiasm for cooking
There is a certain sense of achievement after finishing cooking a meal and you can bet your children are going to feel every ounce of it as well. So, along with letting them know that they have done a good job, another way to celebrate their accomplishment is to eat together.
It doesn’t quite matter what your kid makes but make sure the family gets to taste it. Your child may have only helped with the prep, stirring, or peeling vegetables but do acknowledge their help and give them the pleasure of serving it to the family members. A big part of cooking is helping nurture people as well and it’s a feeling that you are never too young to experience.
Also, as we mentioned, it’s important that they are actively participating in the kitchen. This means you can let them help fix the menu for the day and also introduce them to new recipes. There are some cookbooks designed for kids as well. It’s a great way to encourage them in their cooking endeavors. You could even share simple recipes from adult cookbooks that have many pictures on them. YouTube tutorials are another convenient way.
Similarly, as they get the hang of working around the kitchen once you have got your kids interested in cooking, you can even try and get them involved in planning their own meals. And you can start by asking them to ready their own lunchboxes. It’s also a chance for you to sneak in information about healthy food and nudge them towards healthier eating habits.
You can start with something simple as making sandwiches to cleaning and mixing veggies for salads or making fruit smoothies. As adults, they will definitely thank you for helping them acquire these kitchen skills early on in life.