Children can learn so much from their parents while helping them to prepare meals in the kitchen. Many family traditions involve spending time in the kitchen, and the sooner we start with our kids, the sooner they will understand how important family meals are. From fun fashion aprons to quick snacks and elaborate meals, you can find interesting ways to encourage your children to enjoy preparing meals while sharing your love of cooking with your kids.
Make Meal Prep a Fun Activity
Children love challenges. A fun way to have the kids participate in mealtime prep is to present them with a challenge or a contest. Some ideas are as follows:
- Who can garnish the dish the best?
- Who can beat the eggs the fastest?
- Who can guess the ingredients by smelling them?
- Can you name the herbs?
- Can you shake the shaker?
All of these challenges and games will get the kids involved with cooking and create memories that they will one day pass on to their own kids.
Incorporate Some Story Time
Story time isn’t limited to bedtime. Kids love hearing stories from when you were young.
Make that special chicken and dumpling soup you used to make with your mom and tell them how you helped to create it. Make the king’s soup (cream of chicken): Who doesn’t love kings, knights, princes, and queens? As you tell the story while cooking with your kids, have them prep the vegetable, spoon in the ingredient, or stir the pot. The possibilities are endless with story time.
Create Dinner and a Show
Children love to dress up and so do some adults. Invest in some fun aprons for you and your children. Have a contest for best dressed or find aprons from all over the world. Show them off during dinner and put on a fashion show. If you are wearing aprons from various countries, have your kids tell the story of each apron and which ingredients the meal features.
Don’t Mind the Mess
Some chefs will vouch for this one. The messier the kitchen is, the tastier the meal will be. You should be ready for the mess at hand. Kids will leave floured handprints all over the place, but that’s OK. Here’s what you can do:
- Have a discard bowl ready to catch peelings and trimmings.
- Place newspapers or a plastic tablecloth on counters or your food prep table.
- Make cleaning fun. Sing a song or play a game of “Where does this go?”
It’s OK if you have a bit or a lot of mess. Enjoy the time with your children, as they’re only so little once.
Passing along your love of cooking to your children is special. You can find many ways of incorporating little hands into every meal prep. As your children grow up, you can pass on more skills to them and help them to learn how to have a healthy relationship with food, create a food budget, and buy ingredients on their own.