1. Set up shop
Take your children out with you when you go food shopping. Ask them to find all the items for a particular meal. For example, for pizza faces (pictured), list all the ingredients for the dough, cheese, tomato sauce, peppers, ham, and anything else they would like for a topping. Then, when you get home, help them piece together the whole meal – a fun learning experience!
2. Kiddie space
Buy your little chefs their own apron, and section off some of your child-friendly kitchen utensils for their use only – buy them child-sized ones when they show a strong interest in cooking. Make space in the kitchen for their cookware and get them into a routine of using these bits and bobs when you go through the process of making a meal. This will give them a sense of belonging and create ownership.
3. Full colour
Encourage your child to include as much colour in their meal as possible. Turn it into a game. Just like they love to colour and paint, adding colourful vegetables to their meal will instil a sense of fun – and get them their 5-a-day. When planning a meal, ask them how you could put more colour into it. Give them the option to make suggestions and praise them when the end result tastes good.
4. Hands on
Cooking with kids is messy. Prepare yourself for the stress and don’t allow your worry to affect your budding chefs, as they’ll sense it and be put off cooking altogether. In fact, when it comes to baking, allow your child to get hands on with cake mixtures and pastry. The sensations of touching and shaping their food in preparation will allow your child to respect the effort it takes to make it right.
5. Clean up
When all the fun of preparation is over, make sure your kids take responsibility for the clean up. This may be a good time to show them the difference between natural, recyclable and household waste. Teach them that the cooking isn’t done, until the kitchen looks like it did when they started. Then when they sit down to their handmade pizza faces, they’ll appreciate them that bit more.