Learning through cooking is a wonderful experience for children with its recipes, pictures, methods, books and songs. Children learn numeracy skills such as addition and measurements, as well as reading skills. They use all their senses by touching, tasting, feeling, smelling and listening.
Creating a sense of fun around food and mealtimes is a great way of encouraging children to have a positive association with food.
Make food fun
- Make fun names for everyday foods such as, “Pirate Pineapple” or “Goblin Stew.”
- Make healthy foods fun, for example you can use biscuit cutters on lots of things besides baking. You can make sandwiches into puzzles, broccoli into a tree and hard-boiled eggs into animals and boats.
- Teach children about food, how it grows and where it comes from. Take children to the local shop or farmers’ market.
- Grow a garden, it doesn’t need to be big! It can be a one tomato plant in a pot. It is fun and educational to watch the plants grow, and it’s even more fun to eat them.
- Learn about different cultures (including your own) by cooking traditional foods from different countries.
- Change the venue and make the eating experience fun by having a teddy bear picnic outside, or food in the magic den!
Always get permission from your before baking with children and ensure you ask about any food intolerances or allergies.
Many foods pose a choking risk for young children. Any food that is hard and round and can get stuck in a small airway and should be avoided. When children are young, regardless of their skills, they should never be left alone when eating because even safe foods can become choking hazards. Children should also never be allowed to run or play while eating.
Basic hygiene is important; teach children how to wash their hands properly before and after cooking.
Health and Safety
It is important to supervise children when they are using knives and ensure equipment is appropriate for their age. Teach children about the dangers of the kitchen, and ensure you are always in charge of the oven and all things sharp.
Recipe resources: There are many fun recipe suggestions on the internet, we recommend: http://familyfun.go.com/recipes/cooking-with-kids