When you read this title you probably think, is there such a thing? And honestly, it is always a little more challenging to get our kids involved with the baking and/or cooking. Extra sets of little fast-moving hands that are very excited and want to help so bad they can’t slow down and see things right. Bless their sweet, helpful little hearts. I promise that it is worth the time and love that it takes to work with them.
So, to help alleviate some of the stress that comes with cooking or baking with kids, here is how we as a family accomplish team work in the kitchen. The following steps make for easy cooking with kids. Sometimes I have both kids help and sometimes only one helps.
Pick out the recipe you want to use
I always pick a recipe that I know the kids can and want to pitch in on. Until recently, anything where there was a lot to cut up as far as vegetables or preparing of raw meat, I have always done by myself because they haven’t been old enough to be handling either.
Of course, their favorite recipes to help with are baking recipes, because they get to taste the yummy cookie batter or steal a chocolate chip (thinking they are sneaky even though you can see a little trail of chocolate leading to their mouths)! Both have started getting more involved in the preparation of cooked meals as well. They love the cooking recipes, so they can grab fresh vegetables while we are getting ready.
Recipes that I have cooked or baked before that have been a hit and I am very familiar with are much easier to give jobs to for helpers.If it is a baking recipe, I still need the recipe (since baking is more of a science and you can only be creative in some ways or it won’t bake properly).I put out my recipe holder, to lock the recipe in place, so nothing gets spilled on it and everyone can read it together. Plus, if it is sitting up then I don’t have a bunch of eager hands trying to grab it at the same time.
Why is it important for kids to learn while they are young?
First, how many of your little kids look at you with those big eyes and ask to help? Kids automatically want to help and be part of what you are doing. Take advantage of that! Teach them while they are young and have the desire, so they have it in their heads that it is fun and exciting to be creative in the kitchen.
Second, we need to work harder to teach our younger generations that eating healthy needs to be part of their daily routine. Eating healthier is a habit and you want to learn those healthy eating habits early. Food that is healthy can still be delicious and amazing.
Third, as I have said in other posts, this is a fun and engaging way of spending some time with your kids. I tried out new cake recipes with my daughter this summer, the first couple we baked, they were good but not perfect. We worked together and learned from what we did.
Pick jobs for each set of little hands
For this example, we are making cookies! I give a job to each kid in order of what needs to be done (back to our order of operations), measure out the dry ingredients in one bowl and then gather all the wet ingredients in a second bowl. One gets to measure out the flour and the other does the sugar. When we crack eggs, EVERYONE wants to be part of that, so I always make sure that they get to both have eggs to crack. Since you are dealing with kids that are not necessarily smooth at cracking eggs, it is smartest to have them crack the egg over a bowl or cup so that you can easily fish out the renegade egg shells that land in there.
Remind of sanitary procedures constantly before during and after
I am one of those types of people that if I see a hair or something in my food, I can’t eat it. Even if I made it myself! I know that not everyone feels this strongly, so these rules below are for my kitchen and I am not saying that you must do them, but I am going to show you what I am teaching my kids to keep everything as sanitary as possible.
- Hair always back in a pony tail (girls)
- Aprons on – I don’t always wear one while cooking by myself however it’s a fun thing for the kids, they feel important
- Clean area with good cleaner so your work surface can be used
- Scrub hands with soap
- Grab all the ingredients we are going to use in order of what is on the ingredient list
- Clean up as you go! Makes final clean up so much easier!
Someone is always going to have an itch on the face at some point, they can itch it but need to wash their hands right after before touching anything else!!
Another thing that help to make easy cooking with kids!
Make sure that you remind the kids that their opinion matters! Their help makes the food so much tastier and delicious. The best way to get them involved is test along the way.
You should always taste your food during your creative process (aside from the raw meats and too much cookie dough of course!) Tasting as you cook is the best way to make a recipe delicious, so when you taste the food make sure that you use a clean spoon or fork for each taste test.
Make sure use your family, especially the kids, as testers as well! Get the most honest feedback from their faces when they taste the food! Then you can ask them, does it need more of something. When they have say in how the food tastes they are more inclined to eat it!