Yesterday I wrote about the ANZAC biscuits 3-year-old Master O and I made. While the biscuits turned out lovely, the cooking experience was not trouble-free. I should have known that cooking at night, after a nap-less day would result in more uncordinated stirring and therefore more spills than other occasions. I did avoid more problems by following some steps which you can adopt too, to make your cooking experiences with the kids more enjoyable.
Nearly all my tips revolve around the 5 Ps – Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance. It is a motto to live by!
- Depending on the age of your child, choose a recipe they are interested in and that is achievable for you both. If they are old enough, get them involved in this process by flipping through recipe books or trawling the internet. There are a whole host of recipes books out there with kid-friendly versions of recipes for all meals of the day.
- Gather your supplies to avoid disappointment or an epic fail. If you need to buy something, consider taking your child along to help. Make a shopping list just for them – use pictures of the ingredients for pre-readers. This help build ownership of the project and anticipation.
- Chat with your kiddo about the cooking experience before you get anywhere near the kitchen. What are you making? What are the steps? What are the rules in the kitchen? What things will they be able to do and what will Mum or Dad have to do? Discussing this helps build the excitement.
- Prepare the kitchen for the task. Organise a seat or step for your child so he/she can be fully involved. Make sure the kitchen is clean and clutter-free as possible. Believe me there will be mess after the cooking so if you don’t want a breakdown or for your first cooking experience with your kid to be your last, start with a clean slate!
- Mise en place. Just a fancy French word for getting your ingredients together – measured and prepared before cooking. Depending on how old your child is can determine how you do this. If they can read they can help you gather the ingredients by going through the recipe. They might be old enough and interested enough to measure out and prepare the raw ingredients – or maybe only some of them. My 3 year old, depending on how involved the recipe is, gets fidgity, so I will often measure and prepare all the ingredients before he comes into the kitchen so he can just get on with the job of cooking.
- Be prepared for mess and be cool with things being a little wayward. I can find this one hard but some of our best cooking moments occured when we splattered the cake batter across the wall or allowed for some hearty taste testing before the sweets were baked
- Ensure you have something on standby to keep your kids amused during the cooking time. There is nothing more frustrating for a child (or a big kid for that matter) than preparing a yummy something to have to wait for it to be ready
- Share your creation with family and friends. What satisfaction it gives a little one to tell others that they made it. Even more importantly, what a great lesson this is for kids in giving and sharing.
Have fun cooking with your little ones.
Linking up with: Kitchen Fun with my 3 Sons