Kids should be taught culinary attainments from an early age. Unfortunately, not all parents allow their kids to participate in the cooking process. Some think it’s unnecessary, some think it’s too early, and some just don’t know how to get their kids interested in cooking. In fact, you are able to start teaching your child the basics of cooking from as early age as 4–5 years, and the learning process doesn’t need not be boring. We explain why it is important to instruct kids to make a meal and how to do it.
Why you should teach your children to cook
Many parents are reluctant or simply afraid of teaching their children to cook. In addition, parents believe that kids may make the kitchen and dishes dirty. Many parents admit that they find it easier to cook a meal themselves than to get help from their children. Let’s find out why we need to instruct a child to cook and dispel the fears of adults.
Teaching kids to cook food is necessary and useful because:
- It teaches healthy eating. The best way to instruct kids to eat right is to let them make healthy food together with you. The children are more likely to eat what they have helped to prepare.
- It develops useful skills. For example, languages (cooking vocabulary, e.g.: roast or stewed meat), mathematics (measuring, weighing, fractions) through learning about weight and volume, how to determine more and less, and the basics of geometry. Cooking meals introduces children to the variety of fresh products and interesting ways of preparing them.
- It shows the child how to take care of loved ones. Remember, many of us say that cooking for ourselves is uninteresting and boring. But if you are cooking for a spouse, babies, family or friends, there is a natural motivation to delight them with the food and the way it is served.
- It broadens horizons. Cooking together is not only a way to teach about fruits and vegetables, but also to tell the story of how these products get to our table. You can tell the child where they grow or even how they appear on the store’s shelves. And you can tell the stories about the history of the country where this dish first appeared.
- It inspires experimentation. The difference between hot and cold, the temperature at which oil melts and water boils, the transformation of liquid dough into a thick pancake – all this is, of course, “kindergarten” science. Nevertheless, the first kitchen observations will help the child to become interested in the knowledge of the world.
- It teaches how to save up. Being able to cook a meal saves money and often time. When the kids get older, with skills and a taste for cooking, they will learn to choose the right, optimal ingredients for the recipe and the wallet. They will value the money, time and energy that parents put into making delicious and healthy food for the whole family.
- It develops health and hygiene skills. The child learns how to process and store food safely, and acquires knowledge of how to use household appliances and items.
So, we hope you now understand why it is important to teach your child to cook from an early age. Indeed, the ability to cook will make your child’s life much easier in the future.
How to Teach Kids to Cook
Kids are interested in the kitchen from a very young age, climbing into the boxes as soon as they learn to crawl, loving to rattle the pots and pans and tapping the cooks. It is not necessary to protect them from these games, just try to make it more or less safe for them. At this age, you can show the baby how to use some of the utensils.
The main difficulty in teaching kids to cook is that they get tired of learning. And boring academic learning makes them hate cooking instead of loving it. Therefore, you need to choose the training methods that will help you unobtrusively pass on the necessary knowledge to the kids and let them achieve new goals in a playful form.
Prepare your meals together
Many parents deliberately refuse to cook together with their children, explaining that they can do it faster and without a mess. It can be understood, although the advantages of cooking together are far greater than the disadvantages. Kids will consider cooking as fun and will enjoy this process.
Involve them actively in planning the meals. This doesn’t only give them a sense of partnership in making family meals, but also you get an opportunity to tell them about nutrition, vitamins, and planning a balanced diet.
Remember, this is just a child
For a kid, every activity is a game, so don’t take cooking too seriously. Think of offering kids creative tasks, such as making animal-shaped snacks or experimenting with mixing different ingredients. Let them see that cooking is not just about following rules, but also about being creative in breaking them.
Cooking a meal with kids means extra mess and the risk of spoiled food or injury. Try to treat it as a natural part of the process. What is chaotic and messy for you, is a learning process for the child.
Teach your kids to cook breakfast or light snacks for themselves
Choose simple dishes that do not require a lot of effort from your child or from you to cook them. Give your child tasks that he or she can do for sure, which will make him or her feel more confident. There are many wonderful children’s cookery books in the market today with a lot of step-by-step instructions and pictures so that kids can see what a dish should look like.
A day of self-management for kids
Let the child be the chef in your kitchen for a day. Organize such events regularly if the child likes them. You can schedule this day in advance. You can prepare a menu, help the kid with the choice of products, suggest and present various ideas and play the role of assistant when the kid is cooking.
Try a cooking camp
Let your child have a fun holiday with a culinary twist. For example, the Tomato School offers a special cooking program. It is a fun school for children from 6 to 14 years old. Here, children will cook meals and get their dreams come true, feeling like a real chef.
For five days of the cooking camp, kids will be offered a practical educational program in a fun and exciting form that develops healthy eating habits. Kids will enjoy creating their own unique dishes, and learning important life skills and professional techniques. Kids will learn to prepare healthy food and a variety of dishes.
Your kid will feel like a top chef and will love cooking a meal! A big advantage of Tomato School is that parents have nothing to worry about – all the necessary products and equipment are included in the program. All you have to do is bring your child to the camp and then take the young chef home.
Teaching a child to cook is not as difficult as it may seem. The main thing is to choose the right methods. You can do it yourself or with the help of experts, or you can combine these methods. The most important thing is that the training should not be boring and strict. Turn the making process into fun, and you will not notice how your kids will acquire all the necessary cooking skills.