The kidlets and I have been mixing things up in the kitchen. Mister is turning into quite the curious chef and comes running when he hears the pots and pans being rattled. “Whatcha making, Mom, and can I help?” has become an oft repeated phrase around here. I enjoy baking with my two, and they enjoy helping with just about anything that involves mess and a mixer. I thought I would share a few tips with you, that I have learned along the way…
- Safety first. Avoid using breakable items when possible. Keep sharp knives out of reach. Nylon knives are a great alternative, if they are learning to cut things. Remind (or help) them to wash their hands before starting.
- Pick an easy recipe. Don’t attempt to make soufflé for the first time with your three year old. The only thing rising will be your temper. Brownies, cookies, and muffins are good things to start with.
- ALWAYS have everything together before you start. Walk away for a second, and one of them will eat your ingredients. Depending on the age of your child, this may include pre-measuring and cracking eggs.
- Slow down! Rushing will only frustrate you AND them. Explain what you are doing, and why, as you go. Keeping the conversation going helps keep them interested.
- Relax. Let go of perfection. They are going to make mistakes, and the mistakes are NOT the end of the world. In fact, mistakes are part of the learning process. They are going to make messes. Messes are not the end of the world.
- Always use the largest bowl possible for mixing, preferably one with a pour spout.
- Start the project early if you expect to get good pictures. Fading natural light can kill your photos.
- Assign tasks and give simple instructions. Let them finish a step before giving the next step.
- Have plenty of cleaning rags available, and teach your kids to clean as they go. It makes clean up easier. Invest in aprons, unless you enjoy doing laundry.
- Enjoy. The art of making memories with your kids is far more important than making a batch of cupcakes.
Involving kids in the kitchen is a great way to teach them. An hour in the kitchen can involve reading, math, art, and science—you could even include social studies if you want to discuss different treats served around the world. The best part is you get to see (and enjoy) the result of your efforts and they may never even realize they were learning because they had so much fun!
I’m thinking of instituting a regular “kitchen day” in our homeschool routine. I’m trying to decide, though, if it should be once a week or once a month.
What do you think?