Whether your kids are wee ones or almost grown up, they all can benefit by spending time in the kitchen with you. Here are some ways to make cooking together special.
Our littlest ones might not be ready to do much cooking, but they LOVE to find new ways to play! Make them feel like they’re part of the cooking process by helping them turn food into play. Whether they indulge their inner fashionista with a fruit necklace (note – blueberries STAIN clothes and carpet!), play architect by building things with toothpicks, or simply enjoy something “gross” like worms made from jello, your kids will love the freedom to FINALLY play with their food.
Hint: Tape freezer paper to your kitchen table or counter for quicker clean-up.
As they get a little older, they may not yet be ready to cook, but they love to “help” in the process by decorating what YOU cook. Decorating cookies is such a childhood staple, whether it’s a holiday or hot summer day. Rummage through your pantry for candy to make faces, or use your food coloring and (new) paint brushes to let them paint directly onto their cookies.
For your older kiddos, walk them through the process of cooking their own meal. It will give those picky eaters some buy-in for the meal, and it will make them so proud to serve their finished product to mom and dad. We have created a Pinterest board with kid-friendly recipes, and don’t forget – you can take something normal and make it special with something as simple as food coloring or a cookie cutter.
It’s true for parties, and it’s true for kids, too: the little touches can make something go from mundane to memorable. Create a fun cooking space for them by taping down freezer paper, laying out all of the tools/ingredients (like you see on the TODAY Show cooking segments) and writing out the recipe so they can follow along themselves. Let them wear your apron (or buy them their own) and chef’s hat, and make a BIG DEAL out of the finished product. If your kids are older, let them set the table with your fanciest linens and dishes and proudly serve mom and dad their creations while you RAVE about their cooking. Bravo!
One of the greatest things my mother-in-law did was require her two boys to plan a menu one night a week, complete with making a shopping list and doing all of the cooking. She said that she and my father-in-law ate some rather creative meals that her young boys planned, but she also instilled a true love for cooking and creativity in the kitchen in her both of her sons. My husband is now an amazing chef, and he credits a lot of it back to practicing over and over as a kid… and loving it. So don’t be afraid to let your older kids take responsibility for meal planning and cooking, and regardless of how it turns out, continue to encourage them to learn and experiment and grow. After all, that’s what we want for our kids, right?
About Lionheart: Lionheart Children’s Academy is a non-profit Christian organization committed to excellence in early childhood education. We are passionate about equipping kids to be world changers, and supporting working parents who need quality, affordable care and education for their children.
Our first center is located at Lake Arlington Baptist Church in South Arlington.
At Lionheart Children’s Academy, we place a priority on our relationships with not only our children, but also our parents. We invite you to visit us in person and take a tour of our facility. We’ll answer your questions and then walk you through the enrollment process. To schedule a tour, please call us at 817-768-6865 or click here to schedule online.
To read more about Lionheart Children’s Academy, visit our website.