After seeing photos and hearing stories about cooking adventures with my kids (specifically, Rayna, who just turned 8 years old), I’ve had lots of parents ask me HOW, WHEN and WHY I cook with my kids.
Not only do I want to pass along my personal TIPS (that will make you AND your child enjoy your time in the kitchen together), I’ll also tell you about, Kidstir, a GREAT company who makes it fun to COOK with your child!
And, don’t MISS this… Read all the way to the bottom because Kidstir wants one of you to WIN a FREE box this week!
Tips for CREATING MEMORIES in your KITCHEN!
1. Start YOUNG!
My daughter has been ‘helping me’ cook since she was 2 years old! I would sit her on the counter beside me, put a bowl in front of her and gave her a spoon to start stirring. Before long, she was ready and eager to start cracking eggs and helping to pour in other ingredients.
As she got older, I allowed her to help me with more responsibilities. Cutting fruits and vegetables might not be suitable for all children; but based on Rayna’s cautious demeanor and interest in learning correct techniques (with her fingers safely protected inside her children’s cut-resistant gloves), by the age of 5, she was READY to start chopping!
2. Be Realistic.
It may sound dreamy to envision having lots of giggles in the kitchen, raising-up future chefs AND creating healthy and delicious food at the same time. However, the truth is, when you choose to have your 2 year old ‘help’ crack an egg, there’s NO way around it… It’s going to be messy! More often than not, there’s going to be little pieces of shell that you have to pick out of your cake mix. And, at some point, expect an egg to be accidentally dropped on your counter. (Only to watch it ooze down your cabinets and onto your floor.)
But, here are 2 things that will help ease the work of cooking with kids:
* Preparing the ingredients ahead of time (cutting, measuring, washing, etc.) will remove some added steps and allow you to enjoy the experience more without being distracted with extra details.
* Give yourself extra time. Cooking with a child is not always easy. In the beginning, having ‘helping hands’ will probably take you TWICE as long to prepare a simple dish! But, be patient! If you’re a loving teacher who is consistent about investing the time in teaching, I promise there WILL be a day when you’re
BEING LAZY ON THE COUCH ‘not quite ready to start cooking dinner yet’ and your eager, excited and experienced child will be THRILLED to give you a few extra minutes by start pulling out everything that’s needed to begin cooking.
3. Think of ALL the BENEFITS!
* Cooking together provides HOURS and HOURS of Quality Time with your child each week! Whether we listen to music, talk about our day, work quietly side-by-side or dream about our favorite dish, many nights, cooking with Rayna goes down as one of the best part of my day!
* If one of our goals as parents is to ‘raise adults,’ I can’t think of a better gift to give them than the knowledge of how to prepare a meal for themselves and others.
* When you shop smart, you will save SO much money when you cook at home. (Not to mention that’s it is much better for you!) No one loves eating out more than me. BUT (aside from our Friday Night Pizza Night tradition), eating together at home each night provides countless benefits. One of which is saving money!
* The last FOUR generations in my family have used COOKING as their primary way of loving and serving others. As I look at the FIFTH generation (my kids), I LOVE seeing that tradition continue! As Rayna and I recently brain-stormed on ideas to grow our friendships (in our new town), she decided she wanted to COOK a special meal for her two friends and their moms. (Here’s the night she planned… https://blog.christymartinphotography.com/index.php/celebrating-friends-and-each-childs-wonderful-uniqueness/ .)
I hope these TIPS inspire you to create kitchen memories with your child!
If you’d like ANOTHER great option, let me introduce you to Kidstir! With their monthly hands-on kits, “kids get to build their own cookbooks, try new foods, and learn all about where food comes from. They also gain important life skills in the kitchen—and cook up some fun family memories!”
Kidstir arrives in a great, little box filled with colorful recipes, facts and ideas for cooking! There’s an simply grocery list and some fun kitchen GOODIES!
Our first snack was “power munchies” (kale: “the world’s healthiest food”). We loved the veggie bags that came in our box! They were perfect for carrying the kale and ALSO for washing! The recipes were very easy with ingredients we already had at home!
Our next snack was “yummy yogurt bark.” Again, very easy and fun to prepare!
Our final snack was whole grain animal crackers! We had a blast making these! (And, they passed the Ruthie-test! She loved them!)
Thank you for coming by!
NOW, here’s the FUN part!
Comment below if you’d like to be in the drawing for a FREE box, courtesy of Kidstir! (Drawing in 1-week!)