Children and the Cooking Experience
Safety always comes first before you begin teaching your child to cook. Safety rules for the kitchen should be your first priority. They need to know what kitchen tools they can use without your assistance and which tools require a parent or older child's help. Remind your child before they begin to prepare food that it is important to first wash their hands with soap and water.
First you will have to decide on what you'll be making together. Next you'll want to gather everything you will need. This includes the ingredients, spoons, cups, bowls, etc. You will have to have enough for the both of you to work. Gathering all of this in advance will allow you to begin preparing the meal as soon as you've both washed your hands.
Keep in mind that your child might not be able to reach the cabinet or table that you are working at. It is best that you create a working area for your child on a child-size table. Placing a tablecloth or newspapers down under the table will make clean-up a lot easier.
Explain what you are going to do through the entire recipe to your child. Next, demonstrate to the child how to measure liquid and solid ingredients. Show the child how to stir, beat, and peel or whatever the recipe requires you to do. Demonstrating the task at hand will help children who are visual rather than auditory in their learning. This can actually be helpful in solidifying their learning.
You can teach your child to slice bananas with a plastic knife. This enables the child to learn the process of cutting without the worry of being injured. Leaving the peel on the banana will make it more difficult for the child to cut so start by showing them how to remove the peel.
A child can tear pieces of lettuce for salads. Another idea is to let them pull apart broccoli and cauliflower florets. This can be safe for any child at any age.
What child doesn't love cookies? When they are being taught to roll the cookie dough don't be surprised if some comes up missing. Children can also use cookie cutters to make shapes in the cookie dough and place them on the cookie sheets. Remind the child that they need to leave a little space between the cookies so they don't cook together.
Last but not least the most important part of cooking. Be sure to teach them the importance of cleaning as they cook. Teach them not to leave everything until you're finished. They can put the dirty dishes into a sink of hot soapy water. Children can also put away their ingredients and wash off the surface they were using to prepare to cook.
Teaching children to cook is important. It is not hard to find simple cooking projects for little hands to do. Keep in mind that they want to be with you and to learn from you. While they are young you should take advantage of this desire. Most children will likely grow out of their willingness to help later in their childhood.