It fosters their confidence to learn new, grownup things.
It helps them to feel like a contributing member of the family.
They learn maths through measuring.
If they’re old enough, they can practice reading.
They learn sequencing through following the steps of a recipe.
They build upper body strength through mixing, kneading or rolling.
They practice their fine motor skills by pinching, cutting and grating.
Getting their hands dirty teaches them about textures and encourages tactile development.
They learn about nutrition as you talk them through ingredients.
They learn about science (melting butter, dissolving sugar and making mayonnaise are hands-on chemistry experiments)
If there’s more than one of them, they learn to take turns.
They learn about consequences (lumpy brownie, anyone?)
They learn about responsibility (cleanup time, or no licking the spoon!)
Tasting new things encourages curiosity and creativity.
You can do it even on a rainy day.
You can get supper done while still spending quality time with them.
BEST JOBS FOR KIDS IN THE KITCHEN:
Cleaning fresh produce Set a race between siblings or let your child beat the clock. If you’re brave enough, let them have a water fight with the water that’s left in the sink afterwards!
Setting the table An important part of eating, and a measurable, manageable job even for smaller children.
Prepping Cordon Bleu chefs call this mise en plus, and it includes chopping, peeling, grating, etc. There’s no time pressure, and you can help fix any mistakes with ease.
Kneading Kids love this, and it’s great for their arm muscles. Next time your kid’s in a foul mood, whip up some dough and let him take out his frustrations on that!
Greasing Use a pastry brush to “paint” oil into a tin, or an empty butter wrapper to rub every last bit of butter.
Anything repetitive Rolling patties or falafel balls, layering lasagnas or potato bakes, cutting cookies.
Anything messy Tossing salads with their hands, stuffing veggies or cannelloni. Kids love to get their hands ‘dirty’!
Washing up Perennial favourite with the littlies; older kids may need the incentive of dessert…
Harvesting If you have a herb or veggie garden, let kids gather what you need for each recipe. It gets them out in the fresh air and reminds them where food really comes from.
Just a little note:
ALWAYS SUPERVISE CHILDREN WITH KNIVES,
NO MATTER HOW OLD THEY ARE. DUH.