How to have fun cooking with your children
Whether you personally enjoy cooking or not, there’s no denying family time in the kitchen is a great way to create lifelong memories. Most children enjoy getting their hands dirty and experimenting, so what better way than cooking? Letting your children get involved with cooking tea, or even setting aside time at the weekend specifically for cooking together, is great for bonding. Plus, who can deny a little help every now and then would be welcomed? Here’s how to have fun and make the most of cooking with your little ones.
Allow them to experiment
One of the best ways to have fun is to allow your children to experiment with their cooking. With this being said, experimenting might not work as well if you’re cooking dinner for the entire family. As you could probably guess, it may occasionally go wrong! But, if you’re cooking mostly for the fun of it, then this is a great time to begin experimenting and let their creativity show.
If you’re unsure about how the experimenting might turn out, you can always go for a more controlled approach. Pre-choose some ingredients that you know work well together, and measure them out to avoid putting too much of one thing in. Then, you can give them a choice between different ingredients. This allows them to feel in charge, without running the risk of wasting the ingredients. This works great if you’re baking – cake and cookie toppings, pie fillings and pancake fillings are all ways you can give them some control over the finished product.
Make something they’re interested in or want to try
Keeping a child interested, or even just keeping their attention, is rarely an easy feat. If you’re looking to keep them engaged from the beginning, plan to make something that they’re really interested in trying. If this is one of your meals that they always get excited about when you’re making it for dinner, why not ask if they’d like to learn how to make it?
If you’re planning on making something completely new, it also adds an element of excitement for yourself. It might be more challenging to make something completely new with your new little helpers, but it will certainly be interesting! When you’re deciding, ask your children if there’s anything they’d prefer to make. If it’s a little outlandish (life-size dinosaur cakes are a little unrealistic), then pull together some options that are easy to make and look fun. Once you’ve found a selection of recipes, put them into a hat and let your little ones pick at random. Fingers crossed they’ll like what they choose, but if not, you’ve always got your back-ups!
Turn the clean-up into a game
Cleaning as you go is always the most sensible way of doing things. On your own, it’s fairly easy. With your children running around? It’s unlikely. If you can get them to clean as they go – which I suppose depends on their age – it’s much easier. If you’re just interested in having fun, then leaving the clean-up process until last isn’t the worst thing. Be careful though, some elements of your kitchen might require an instant clean-up. For example, liquid can damage hardwood flooring, and needs to be cleaned up immediately. Spillages on the floor should also be cleaned up to prevent any slipping.
Kids love racing against the clock, so giving them and yourself a time limit to get as much tidied away is a good place to start. This is good for leftover ingredients, or getting the pots and pans to the sink. Once the pots and pans are in the sink, you can play small mini-games, such as rock, paper, scissors, to decide who’s washing the next item. There are loads of game tutorials you can follow, so pick one that you think your kids will enjoy most. Whichever way you decide to tackle to tidying, there are different ways to turn it into a game and make it more enjoyable for everyone. Who knows, you might even adopt them into your own clean-up routine!