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6 Tips for Teaching Kids To Cook

June 4, 2019 by Cathy Carr

When you think about kids in the kitchen, is your first instinct panic? Does your mind fly to broken dishes and burned fingers? Or maybe just little ones messing up the meal you’ve spent all day on? This summer, put your fears to rest by teaching the kids how to cook.
Enlisting the help of your little ones when making food a great way to instill important lessons about safety and responsibility in the kitchen. It also makes checking off your chore list that much easier, and builds some bonding time right into your daily routine! If your kids are new to the world of cooking, try these tips for getting them started at any age.

Make the kitchen kid-friendly

Before jumping into cooking, make sure the kids feel comfortable and safe in the kitchen. Store common cooking utensils in drawers or cabinets that kids can easily access, and keep a step stool tucked away in a corner, so kids feel like they have some control over the space. Keep in mind, this also means safety-proofing the things you don’t want them to get their hands on. Sharp knives should be stored at the far back of the counter, and boiling pots should be placed on back burners with the handles turned in, safe from curious hands.

Give the kids their own tools

Set aside a kid-sized apron, some colorful measuring spoons, and a few tools with kid-friendly grips for the young ones to use. Not only will it be easier for young ones to help out when they have utensils designed for smaller hands, it can be a great confidence builder to have cooking tools to call your own!

Get crafty with food prep

Not all food prep tasks are going to be suited to all ages, but with supervision and some modified tools, they can manage a lot more than you might think! Kid-safe cutlery is a convenient, secure option for letting kids in on the food prep process. Plastic, disposable knives or butter knives work great for cutting soft fruits and veggies, like mushrooms, strawberries, and cucumbers, and keep little fingers out of harm’s way.
Mixing and blending are two more great ways for fun cooking with the kids. Stirring up batter is an ideal task for kids of any age (don’t forget to lick the spoon!) and getting to press the button on the food processor is sure to delight young ones. Search for other small ways to let kids help out with the prep process, depending on their age and experience level.

Make baking fun

Baking is a great place to get young kids started in the kitchen. If they’re old enough to play with Play-Doh, they’re old enough to play with real dough! Kids will love to twist up pretzels, stamp out cookies, and pat down bread. It turns making meals into a fun, tactile experience that kids of all ages will love—and that yields tasty results the whole family can enjoy!

Let them take the lead

Giving kids the power to pick what food they make can do wonders for encouraging an interest in thoughtful eating. No, that doesn’t mean Pop-Tart lasagna every night of the week: try giving your kids a limited menu of parent-approved foods and letting them decide which one you’ll make that night. Even the pickiest eaters can’t resist eating a meal they chose themselves and helped prepare!

Give them room to make mistakes

This last tip is more for you than for the kids. When you’re a kitchen expert, it might be tough to watch things get done the wrong way, but making mistakes is an important part of the learning process. Give the kids directions, let them ask as many questions as they need, then step back and let them figure things out. The same way they won’t learn much with mom or dad doing their homework all their lives, they’ll pick up on basic cooking skills much faster if they feel empowered to try things for themselves. Yep, that means your cookies might occasionally turn out a little overcooked, and your chicken might come out of the oven a little chewy, but it’s a small price to pay for leaving kids with a lifelong love of cooking!

The right appliances can do wonders for getting the kids involved with cooking from an early age. So make sure you have appliances with easy-to-use features for them, great prices and styles for you, plus all the right safety features to put your mind at ease. Step up your family fun time this summer with a little help from Howard’s! Our team members can help you find the right appliances for every family.
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