I’ve been baking with my kids since my eldest was 18 months. With one child it is messy, with more than one it is carnage. It takes 4 times as long, involves multiple conversations, explanations and shouts of “no, not yet”, there is a kitchen to clear up and children too… however I am convinced it is something we should all be doing.
Why? Here are my top reasons.
- It teaches children about measuring, volume, pouring, hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. Jobs like rolling pastry, cutting out shapes, measuring the flour, stirring and pouring in milk are all good to try.
- They learn about safety in the kitchen. My 5 years old has her own knife and know how to safely chop the vegetables and how to carry sharp knifes. Learning about the oven, the hob and even the big kitchen appliances can be interesting to small ones and teaches them how to be safe in the kitchen.
- Children may find it less intimidating and stressful to try out new foods whilst you are preparing them or after they have cooked them. My boy went through a tricky stage with vegetables, then I discovered he would eat lots when helping cut them up for the dinner. So every night he helped prepare the veggies with me!
- It gives them a sense of achievement and success. My kids always look full of happiness and pride when I remind them they helped cook a meal.
- Cooking seems to be a dying out skill. It isn’t really taught at school so the only way your children will learn is at home. I come across a lot of people who don’t know how to cook, or have no confidence in the kitchen. Letting your children learn whilst at home teaches them a valuable skill for life.
- It is a chance to talk about healthy eating and role model healthy lifestyles to your small ones. We look at different foods, talk about how they are made/where they come from and look at how they look inside, how they cook and different ways to use them. For ages my boy thought Peppa Pig was related to an actual pepper 😉 Watch out though as age 3 my girl was proudly able to tell people when they ate bacon that it had come from a pig and told the pigs at the farm they made tasty sausages!
- You can use cooking as a whole education. Colours, shapes, counting can all be part of the process!
- In our family, it can be that all important catch up time, where we chat and hang out.
- It occupies them! I have a girl with a very active mind, she needs activities to do, so she cooks with me.
- Hopefully, they will be able to cook you dinner when old enough!! I cannot wait for this!
So if you don’t cook with your children, I hope I have given you some reasons why you should 🙂