Cooking with our little ones can be a fun as well as a learning experience for little curious minds. Sharing with you all 5 easy and fun to make recipes with your kids.
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Today, I am here to talk about children and their food habits. Many times I come across moms who are really worried about their children’s picky eating habits. I recently posted a picture on my Instagram about my daughter assembling her plate for lunch, which included all the healthy food choices. I was asked, how did I do that? Today’s post is about how I managed to get my 4-year old into choosing right kind of food.
I began this by involving her in food preparation, right from picking up the food from the grocery store. Since the time she was a baby she shopped with me for vegetables and fruits. I used to tell her the names of the fruits and vegetables. And after she began preschool, she learned more about them and she started showing more interest in knowing how a particular food is made. Hence, she became my full-time assistance in the kitchen during a meal prep.
There are several benefits of involving your kids in the kitchen.
I know, I know you would say ‘Things take longer when kids are around, I do it faster if I do it all by myself’.
But with little extra precautions and preparations, cooking with kids do turn out to be an important learning experience and also helps in developing a basic life skill for little ones.
Let’s talk about benefits here:
Cooking With Children Helps In Developing Their Vocabulary:
As for me and my 4-year-old cook together, we have a dialogue about each ingredient. Being a curious little girl she keeps on asking what, how, when, why. We talk about how the vegetable and fruits provide us energy to grow. Which in turn helps her understand the importance of each and every ingredient used in the particular recipe.
Cooking With Children Is Real Life Science:
Heat melts things. For eg, butter. Simple science. Similarly, ice, when kept at room temperature, turns into a liquid. These are simple things but very amusing ones for 3 and 4-year-olds.
Cooking With Children Helps In Developing Math Skills:
Using measuring spoons and cups are my daughter’s favourite task while helping me in the kitchen. She likes to count and add things to the bowl. This gives her a sense of pride since she is applying what she learned in her preschool back home. She tells me ‘I learned this in school.’ (counting and numbers)
Cooking With Children Helps In Developing Eye-Hand Coordination:
A simple task like peeling an egg or potato. Or picking floweret from a cauliflower are some of the tasks which my preschooler does in the kitchen. This helps in focusing and developing eye-hand coordination and mastering the grip.
Cooking With Children Helps In Exploring Senses:
Right from touch to smell. She is the one helping me right from preparing a dough to shape burgers. Of course, I do the final part. But the sense of playing with different textures of food makes it fun for her. Also at times, it is a good claiming activity for her too.
She likes to smell and taste things that I am using while making a particular recipe. So whatever is edible raw I do let her taste and smell it. This has actually helped me in developing her taste for raw vegetables and salad. Raw fruits are all time favourite for her.
Cooking With Children Brings In The Sense Of Independence:
Whenever she helps me in the kitchen, she has a sense of pride. “Mama I did this, mama look I peeled an egg” etc. She has this sense of independence that she could manage a thing on her own, which in turn boosts her self-confidence. Also that very pride of helping me in the kitchen making the food, also makes her eat what she has made. You will, of course, eat that recipe that you made with your whole heart, isn’t it? It is the same thing with little children too.
Cooking With Children Is Making Them Learn Important Life Skill Of Cooking For Themselves:
To know how to cook and feed oneself is extremely important. Mom won’t be there around all the time to cook and feed. So knowing the basic how to’s of cooking and making food is crucial.
What kind of task should I give to my little one in the kitchen?
I would say very simple task like:
Peeling: Peeling potatoes, boiled eggs, garlic, corn husk etc
Stirring and Mixing: Adding wet ingredients to the bowl and stirring or mixing with spoon or whisk.
Sorting and Assembling: Sorting things in the kitchen like spoon from fork, big and small spoons, sorting blueberries from strawberries and keeping them in different bowls. (assembling)
These are just a few examples of what you can tell your child to do. But make sure everything is child-friendly. Nothing is too hot or too cold. And absolutely NO Sharp things around children.
I always keep my knife far away from her my daughter’s reach.
Well, then how should I begin?
I would say. Keep it simple. And involve them whenever you are not in a rush. For example some weekend cooking project.
Discuss with them the menu that you plan to prepare and give them the task accordingly.
No elaborate project.
Give them one task at a time which would last for just a few minutes. Remember these are little kids.
Give an answer to each and every query that they have. Children are very inquisitive about their surroundings so they will need an answer to each and everything and why is it happening.
If you are worried about the mess they might create, then cover the working space with newspaper or some sheet which you can easily throw away or clean.
And finally, relax and enjoy the activity. You will be surprised to see how fun and entertaining this whole experience can be for both you and your child. Clicking few pictures for the Instagram and bragging about it. Of course yes- Tag me, @deepika.haldankar, if you do. I would love to see them.Cooking With Kids- 5 Delicious Recipes to make with your little ones #cooking #easyrecipes Click To Tweet
What are recipes that I can try with my little one?
I have shortlisted 5 delicious recipes for you all which you can try making with your little ones. My little miss K helped me make these recipes.
Mashed Sweet Potatoes: Miss K helped me mash the sweet potatoes with her hand. It was a good sensory play for her.
Watermelon Berry Salad: My little helper helped me with eating watermelon and sorting berries.
Dill Cucumber Noodles: She helped me whisking the yoghurt, and munched on raw cucumber.
Spinach And Kale Tikkis: Mixing the ingredients with her hand and then shaping them into little tikkis.
Lemon Saffron Cheese Cups: This was the most loved project for her. She was so excited to be the part of the photo shoot too. She helped me with crushing the graham crackers and mixing the wet ingredients with a whisk.
Here you go. This is how I managed to involve my daughter into kitchen actives which in turn helped her in making healthy food choices. If you have a fussy eater, my answer to that is- Involve them in the kitchen activity.
Do your little ones cook with you? Do you both enjoy it? Let me know.
All the views expressed here are my personal views. It is based on my experiences of cooking with my daughter.
Each and every child is different. What worked for me may not work for you. So try to involve children in the kitchen activity whenever they show interest.
Talk to your baby’s Pediatrician before starting any new food.
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