If you are looking for a great way to spend some quality time with your kids this summer, look no farther than your own kitchen. When kids get involved with cooking, they get more than just quality time with Mom or Dad. It can also open up their food horizons by introducing new foods and flavors. It boosts their self-confidence by teaching them a life skill they will always need. It also keeps their brain engaged and learning because it incorporates reading, math, and fine motor skills like those used in stirring, pouring, and measuring. It teaches them to read and follow directions and provide real-world consequences for failing to do so.
Despite all these great benefits, you may be concerned that cooking with kids will only complicate your already hectic day. It is true that after a busy day at work, the last thing you want to do is take an extra hour to get dinner on the table because of your little helpers. But this doesn’t mean you should cross cooking with your kids off your list of things to do this summer, it just highlights the need to pick the right time to do it. It is also very important that you keep activities age-appropriate and focus on safety as one of the first skills.
There are some great resources available with even more reasons that cooking can be great for kids that include details on age-appropriate activities and real recipes you can use with your toddlers and your teens. To help make sure you can spend your time with the kids, we pulled together some of the best sources of information on the topic to help.
- 6 Lessons Children Learn from Cooking from the Waddleeahchaa.com Blog – Offers an overview of benefits and free printable recipe guides for children
- Cooking with Kids from KidsHealth.org – Offers a look at some of the benefits kids get from cooking at different ages.
- Cooking Helps Kids with Self-Confidence by G. Stephen Jones on The Reluctant Gourmet – A great way to build self-esteem naturally
- Kids in the Kitchen: Learning through Cooking from the Kindercare Blog – Explains that by engaging all the senses, cooking makes learning easier
- Top 10 Reasons to Get Kids Cooking by Stephanie Gallagher, About.com Guide – More reasons that kids in the kitchen this summer is a super way to keep their minds engaged.
- What Age Should Children Start Cooking by Sara Bonisteel for Kitchen Daily provides great advice on age appropriate participation.
- Skills Children Learn from Cooking By Jacqueline Rizk for DivineCaroline.com – Great section on things you should remember when cooking with children like the importance of hand washing and keeping children’s involvement age appropriate.