Getting your kids involved in food preparation makes them interested in what they eat and the quality of their food. Kids can cook as long as the tools are the right size for them and we take a few precautions.
How to get kids involved in food preparation
Find below some suggestions to get your kids into food preparation and cooking. Some of them aim to instill good habits.
For younger kids, storybooks with cooking involved are a good place to start building an interest in helping.
If the kids are in the kitchen when you cook, ask questions and talk about what will happen when you do certain things, like chop something up, or put something in the oven... this gets their interest even if they aren't doing the action themselves yet.
The simplest tasks can get even a toddler involved in food preparation, stirring the macaroni, pouring the milk, etc.
Clean up afterwards is a time when everyone can help as well.
Gathering of ingredients is an important step and one that most kids can handle, "please bring me 3 carrots, and 2 sticks of celery" and a good beginning to helping out in the kitchen area.
Teach them to make something that they can make with little help from you, a scrambled egg, a grilled cheese sandwich, a bowl of soup, a fruit salad, etc.
Look for kids sized kitchen gear and alternate tools for little fingers, for example kids could use a rolling pizza cutter to cut up veggies instead of a big sharp knife.
Get kids their own cookbook and let them choose a recipe, there are a variety of kids geared cookbooks on the market today to choose from.
Let them experiment with different foods, textures, ingredients, combinations, sauces, dips etc.... even if you think something sounds gross and they want to try combining it let them try a small amount, it's the best way to learn about foods.
Don't take over. As adults and parents we tend to want to do things for them when we see a little bit of a struggle or when we think they might not succeed. Try to take a different approach, stand back and be observant but don't help unless they ask you too or if it's with something sharp or extremely hot.
Food tastes better when it looks good, don't forget to teach them how to present a plate, garnishes and decoration. Bet that preparing fancy muffins and cookies will get their interest.