Cooking with kids is incredibly rewarding and fun! Sure it can take a little longer while they are learning and there might be a little bit of extra mess to clean up but there are so many benefits that outweigh these few things.
- Cooking Teaches Kids About Food
One of the things that I love, is teaching kids about where their food has come from. It’s important that our kids know where things like their lettuce and beef actually come from. It’s worrying that I ask kids where their food comes from and quite often the response is “the shop”. Get them involved by talking to them about how their different ingredients are grown and produced and wherever possible, take them to the markets and ask them to help pick out the ingredients. They might even get to talk directly to the farmer and ask him or her some questions. All of this will grow their knowledge of food and I’m sure they will be telling their friends and family about what they have learnt.
2. Helps with Fussy Eaters
There are plenty of stats and studies that have been done to tell us that when the kids are involved in preparing and cooking their food, they are more likely to try new foods and even more likely to finish their meals. We see this all the time in our Kids Kitchen classes and it’s great to watch the Mums and Dads surprise when their kid has tried and liked an ingredient like coriander. I know, I know, it’s the ingredient that divides the nation but I love it! This quote sums it up “When children make the food, they’re less likely to throw it, or refuse it.” Simplicity Parenting, Dr Kim John Payne.
3. Spending Quality Time Together
I know a lot of parents, particularly the mums, are often trying to quickly cook dinner but the kids always manage to start fighting or crying and yelling (it is that time of day after all) and cooking takes so much longer than you want it to. By involving the kids in cooking their food, you get to make dinner (or any other meal) and spend some quality time with the kids that I’m confident they will absolutely love and appreciate as well. And it might just save your sanity at the end of a long day!
4. New Life Skills & Experiences
Kids learn by watching you and in the kitchen is no exception! They will not only learn how to do things like chopping, measuring, peeling, stirring and cleaning up, they will also learn little details about how to cook certain ingredients and to appreciate the smells, like garlic starting to cook in the pan or a cake baking in the oven. All of these are fantastic experiences for their senses and all add to their life experiences.
5. A Sense of Accomplishment and Achievement
The smiles on the faces of kids when the see their finished meal on their plate – priceless! So many of the kids at our classes are so proud that they just can’t wait to take some of their creations back home to their family so mum or dad can try it (after they have eaten at least half of it). It’s such a precious thing to watch. Who wouldn’t want to see this?
It doesn’t matter what age your kids are now, whether they are young or in their teens, simply get them in the kitchen and make a start and do this whenever you can. You might just be surprised at what they can achieve and what you might learn from the experience as well!
So, is the extra time spent and mess made really worth it? Absolutely!
Tell us about cooking with your kids! Why do you do it or what stops you from doing it? No judgement here!
About The Author
Trudie Bishop is our Chief of Foodspiration and an experienced home cook with a passion for learning and getting kids of all ages in the kitchen.