How to Make Cooking Safe and Fun

Now that school is over, or almost over, children will be home for longer periods. Make those days productive and fun. Working with them in the kitchen can be a fun, educational and a safe activity, providing certain rules are followed.

Following directions
In all aspects of life, there are certain rules that must be followed. Working in the kitchen requires certain rules and directions as well. Depending on the age of the child, you may need to repeat directions on how to do different jobs.

Tell and then show the child what needs to be done. Show how to “cut-in” butter into a flour-sugar mixture, for example, using two table knives or a pastry blender. Explain what “folding-in” means and use the spatula to show how you gently bring the spatula over and over to “fold-in” the ingredient. This often refers to folding-in beaten egg whites into the remainder of the ingredients.

Some children can remember a list of more than one jobs. For example, for some you can say: please get out the big bowl, the mixing spoon and the measuring cups. For others, asking the child to do one or two jobs at a time may be appropriate.

Read the recipe out loud to help everyone know what you will be doing. Pictures help, too.

Offer praise and thanks

Make sure you praise the child for offering to help and the work  done. You can also offer such statements as: “We really make a good team here in the kitchen.” “You are doing such a good job of following directions”. “Thank you for helping today.” Won’t our family be surprised when they taste what we made today?”

Following safety rules
There are certain safety rules that must be followed when working with children in the kitchen, such as:

Always wash your hands before working in the kitchen.
Young children should not use sharp knives.
Small appliances are not play toys.
Potholders and not towels are for handling hot dishes. Towels could catch fire from the stove.
Handles of pots and pans should be turned inward.
Always use a separate spoon when tasting food.

Do you have stories about working with children in the kitchen?

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Comments

  1. Before I become parent, I really didn’t know that little ones adore cooking food so much. My kid absolutely loves it, I feel when grow up will be even much better cook than me.

    • Thanks for your comments, Raeann. Yes, children really do love to cook – some more than others, I admit, but most love to mix and stir and put together ingredients. It’s up to parents to encourage this, too, and it sounds as if you are really doing this.

    • I hope you’ve had a chance to look at this website (http://HealthyKidsEatingTips.com) where you’ll see kids cooking – and me. Yes, kids love to cook, and cooking gives kids a time to practice lots of skills, including communication, coordination, cooperation, and many others. Thanks for your note! ~Lee

  2. Our biggest thing when we work in the kitchen is providing everyone a quick overview of the game plan. I also make sure to constantly communicate what we’re doing and why and encourage questions.

    Nice article!

    • Thanks Kelly, for your comments. Yes, talking with kids while you’re cooking is really important. Let them know what’s going on and listen. Often the most important information isn’t about cooking but about life.

    • Thanks for your comment, Kelly. Giving kids the big picture really helps them see how it all comes together. ~Lee

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