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Teaching your kids to cook from a young age is invaluable because they will have those skills for the rest of their lives. Especially if you teach them the core skills of preparing vegetables, meat, and fish as it will lead to them living a healthier lifestyle in the long run because they won’t feel the need to buy unhealthy ready meals. However, there’s a right way to go about cookery school at home in order to get your kids to enjoy it and remember cooking as a good experience. Here are a few ideas as to how you can have fun in the kitchen with your little ones while teaching them the basic skills of cooking.
A sure way to get your children more involved in cooking is by letting them choose their own gear. Whether a personalised apron is enough to get them in the kitchen or their own set of cooking utensils, if it’s getting your kids enthusiastic about preparing meals then buy it (as long as it’s within a sensible budget.)
Chef Claire Thomson (who speaks from experience) says to start easy, “start with simple, tactile stuff, such as guacamole,” she says. “ Little kids love the gross stuff. Ivy likes to squidge the marinade into a chicken.” Ivy is Claire Thomson’s daughter. So choose your foods wisely, boiling carrots isn’t going to cut it unless they’re being transformed into something more exciting.
Kids in control
Thomson also tells The Telegraph that “children feel much more comfortable if they feel in control of their food.” She recommends that you pass over a lot of the preparation to your children so that they feel like the overall dish is all their own work. Confidence is key so don’t be afraid to encourage them to keep making ‘their dish’ for family and friends until they get it spot on. The practise and delivery to an audience will give them a real sense of achievement and encourage most delicious dishes!
Take it to the garden
To make cooking, EVEN more exciting you can start growing vegetables in the garden. It’s remarkably easy to grow salad leaves, carrots, potatoes, spring onions, herbs, tomatoes and more – you just need a few seeds and a bit of soil. If you don’t have the space you can grow salad leaves and herbs on the windowsills in baskets or plastic tubs easily enough. Growing your own produce not only teaches your children where everything comes from but it makes the whole process a lot more exciting if they’re pulling up their own carrots and giving them a wash. If you’re lucky enough to have lots of space in your garden, you could even get a couple of chickens!
Make a day of it
If you’re really struggling to get things going in the kitchen with the children, make a day of it at the weekend and have their friends over to cause havoc too. Chances are that if their friends are involved, they’re likely to enjoy themselves a lot more. Be creative and plan a day where your kids and their friends prepare some picnic foods (scotch eggs, sandwiches, salads) and then go out for a bike ride and eat everything they’ve been busy making in the kitchen. Not only will they have learnt lots about cooking but they’ll be so worn out by the end of the day you can have a good relax.