“Don’t Forget to Roll Up Your Sleeves” — Cooking With Kids

There are so many benefits to having kids in the kitchen. It’s a delightful combination of classroom, playground and place to have fun and make a mess, and the results may be vary, but they’re almost always edible. Cooking with kids may sound daunting, but it’s not. Choose something simple, co-operative and safe, and you can be assured of a rewarding experience for all involved. Just as many kids love the beach, loads will get a big kick out of creating something to eat — they may even feel a touch more grown up — and getting to taste the fruits of their labour.

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Sadly, more and more parents never learnt, or have forgotten, how to cook themselves, and so families are missing out on this easy and essential life skill. There are so many hidden assets to engaging in a cooking session and just whipping out the blender. One of the most obvious is the chance to practise mathematical capabilities and show your kids why they matter. Counting, weighing and measuring are big parts of following a recipe. They aid and abet understanding of these key elements. The practicality of seeing for themselves how maths translates into the real world is a boost for children when they encounter it at school and realize it has a genuine application. Following a recipe is both scientific and literate and enjoying healthy homemade food is a nutritional bonus. Kids feel responsible, important and trusted if you let them use your kitchen utensils and resources, which in turn increases their self-esteem.

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Using a blender is one of the easiest ways to whizz up a quick, healthy treat. Kids can safely enjoy adding the ingredients to the mixer bowl and adapt their own favourites. A smoothie is a universal favourite. One made from banana, milk and honey is a tried-and-tested classic. There’s no end to the improvisations possible, though, with all seasonal fruits, yoghurt, fruit juices and vegetables such as carrots great for smoothie success.

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Even though the end results may not be exactly as planned or like the pictures in the recipe book, it doesn’t matter. Praise children for their efforts and, above all, make cooking with them a fun and happy activity that they will want to go back to over and over again. This will lay the foundation for a lifetime of appreciation of nutritious food. With the growing epidemic of childhood obesity, this is a far greater gift than you may realise.

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