Teaching your children kitchen and cooking safety is important, but it can be boring. If the lesson is not interesting, your kids will not remember it. One way to spice up an ordinarily dull lesson is to let your children help you prepare a few meals.
Children love to help out and cooking can be a fun activity for the whole family. Not only will your child learn proper kitchen safety, but cooking will also help them absorb math, basic physics and chemistry. So what are you waiting for?
This article from eHow.com explains how you can incorporate your children into your next kitchen endeavor.
Even very small children can have fun in the kitchen.
Even children as young as two years old can get involved in cooking activities. Give them a big apron, a large plastic bowl and scrubbing brush and set them to scrubbing vegetables. Slightly older children can be your “measuring cups.” Have them hold out their hands and use their small palms to measure salt, or let them add a pinch of other spices. Be sure to have them wash their hands, and make certain they know the importance of their task by telling them what “their” ingredient does. Most importantly, do not worry about the mess.
Getting messy can be half the fun.
Young children will have fun using a potato masher for potatoes or apples for applesauce. Older kids can use measuring cups and make basic cake mixes. Making batter and dough with whisks and wooden spoons is a fun activity, but it can be messy, which of course makes it more fun. Children as young as six can be pretty handy with a spatula, particularly if they are putting icing on cookies they will eat with their friends. Don’t worry about the fine details; it’s the fun that counts, and they are learning more than you can guess.
Emphasize safety and supervision around barbecues.
Of course you need to supervise even older kids around stoves, grills and anything else hot, but they can help prepare mini pizzas, paninis and other fun foods. Start them with a toaster oven, and be sure to emphasis the use of gloves, mitts and mats. Allowing kids to help dad grill hot dogs is fun for pre-teens. Make sure that even peripheral involvement is appreciated and they will enjoy it.
Growing Your Own
Growing your own vegetables is a great way to appreciate food.
Children can find eating vegetables much more enjoyable if they have seen them grow. Even without a garden plot, children can grow radishes and onions in a pot. Container gardens of tomatoes, beans and carrots are usually a hit. Plant enough so that they can pull them up occasionally to see how they are growing. Eating small carrots right out of the earth is a great way to show kids where food comes from, and how delicious fresh food is.
With close supervision, children can chop food.
Relax the rules and have fun, but still be vigilant about safety. Sharp knives should of course be off limits until the child has shown some awareness of their danger, but dull knives can be used to cut soft food. Other tools, such as graters and slicers, can also be dangerous, but with supervision and training older kids can use them safely. Clean habits can be built at a very young age; make sure that hand-washing is always done, both between and before tasks, especially around meat products. Even raw hot dogs can carry bacteria.
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