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One thing I’ve always been a big proponent of is making sure my kids join in on the cooking fun!
I don’t make them cook a lot of the time, but I do try to regularly have them rotate in a turn helping out with making dinner, lunch or breakfast a few times each month.
An added perk to having my kids help make meals is that they seem more inclined to try the food if it is a new to us dish when they make it.
Not only that, but my boys are really good about complimenting each other when the food is good, which is not only fun to hear, but you can see the kid being complimented gain a bit more pride over his hard work.
So, what are some ways to make cooking less of a chore for kids and make cooking with kids fun? Here we go:
Tips for Cooking with Kids
Pick a quick and easy recipe
I find making sure my kids have fun cooking in the kitchen starts before they even pick up a cooking utensil.
You might be dying to test the latest Italian recipe you saw but if you want to make cooking fun with the kids, I would suggest that you start with something small and easy.
Start with a recipe that you both love.
Part of making cooking fun is making it so your child can succeed at cooking. By starting out with easy recipes and having them build up to more complicated recipes.
In most cases, perfecting a recipe at first try could be hard and you do not want to make your kid think they are part of the reason why it did not work.
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Do something that will be a pure delight and something your family loves.
Build up the anticipation
You want your kids to look forward to cooking and having a great time doing it.
If you came across a great recipe, or something you know they absolutely love but you don’t cook it often, start building their anticipation early that day.
Let them know that you guys are going to be cooking this favorite dish.
This can help keep the kids excited about what is happening in the kitchen that day and when you finally get to it, it will be an enjoyable experience.
Involve them in the process
After you have built up some anticipation, you might want to involve them in the process right from the start.
If you need to run to the grocery store to get the ingredients, your child can go as well.
Your child can be in charge of picking out the ingredients at the store.
If you have a child like my oldest, bringing him grocery shopping is one of his most hated activities.
I wouldn’t suggest bringing him grocery shopping as a way to get him excited about cooking, but for my youngest, it adds to the fun of his cooking experience.
You know your kids best and need to make a judgment call on if this will add or detract from the fun of cooking.
Your child should also be involved in the prep work of cooking.
So, if you like to prep a recipe by chopping all the ingredients ahead of time, they can be involved in washing off the produce and cutting it up.
Appreciate their efforts
Once the meal is cooked comment on how great it looks and how you can’t wait to try it.
After trying it, make sure to comment on the taste as well.
Your other family members will chime in.
This appreciation from the family will go a long way in building confidence in your child about cooking.
Allow them to mess up a bit
Don’t worry about the mess that is guaranteed to come with having your kids helping out.
It is okay that some flour will be spilled when they are trying to make the dough.
It’s okay to have some spills here and there.
Just make sure that they are safe. Spills on a slippery kitchen floor could be dangerous and this could turn ugly very fast. So, make sure these type of spills are cleaned up quickly.
Keep it simple, safe and a little messy. It is okay to have their aprons dirty when fixing a meal.
As you cook together more often you can start the process of teaching them the art of keeping a clean cooking station, but to start just let them have fun with this.
Another way to make cooking fun with kids is to add some fun accessories to help them cook.
These fun accessories could be a cute apron or fun kid’s cooking utensils.
There are so many fun gadgets for cooking with kids on the market today that this is something that is really easy to do.
Choose Fun Recipes
Above I said to choose simple and easy recipes, but you should also mix it up with fun recipes.
Fun recipes are anything that would be a novelty and your child would like.
For my middle child this would be any recipe with sugar, so cookies, lemon bars or something fun like that.
My oldest loves seafood and he loves helping prepare seafood – as you can see from the above photo.
Figure out what your kiddo loves with food and build on that.
If they like to play with it, some cookies or homemade crackers they can use cookie cutters on might be perfect.
The possibilities are endless. If you need help coming up with ideas, feel free to ask in the comments.
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