Thursday, January 15, 2009

Kids in the Kitchen

Kids love to imitate what they see. Who hasn't had the companionship of a toddler with a wooden spoon and a bowl, while you are busy preparing dinner or baking. My son would play house. He made lots of pitchers of coffee with the Tupperware pitcher and cup set I had as a kid. (I find this funny, since I don't drink coffee and we only make it when we have guests.) Frequently, when I head to the kitchen to cook, my daughter loves to join me by cooking in her new kitchen she got for Christmas. She brings me plates of goodies - although I have to watch what I "eat", yesterday I nearly ate the pizza intended for Daddy that I evidently had just been given to hold and she let me know that it was Daddy's.

Cooking can not only be educational in helping your children learn to prepare food for themselves, but can also be a great way to teach math lessons, science lessons and more. You can cut sandwiches into squares and triangles; into halves or quarters. You can show how adding salt can make the water boil quicker. You can show how yeast can make the bread grow big by filling it with air.

Plus, it is a great bonding time. Cooking with a child can make them feel special. I have a picture of my son, standing on a backwards chair, wearing an apron, covered in frosting and wearing the biggest smile - it was a fun day, he was helping me decorate cupcakes for Daddy's birthday. We had a blast. It also gives them a great sense of accomplishment to tell everyone that they made it.

Helping to cook can also help kids eat more varieties of food. I have heard of people letting their kids choose a new food to purchase and prepare to expand the foods that they will eat. Somehow, assisting in choosing and preparing can make the same "yucky" food turn into something that they want to eat.

I don't have a specific recipe that I find is particularly best for preparing with children in the kitchen. I think that if you do the appropriate prep work, many recipes can be made with a child.

Mini-pizzas are a great and easy treat to prepare with your kids. They can build their pizza with their own favorite toppings.

Bagel halves (could also use pitas or English muffin halves)
Pizza sauce
Asst Pizza toppings

Parent step: Preheat oven to 375F. Place pepperoni slice over the hole in the bagel (keeps the sauce from leaking). Top bagel with sauce.

Kid step: Top with desired toppings and cheese and place on pizza stone.

Parent step: Place pizza stone in oven. Bake for 15 -20 minutes.

Share and enjoy.

Jessica over at Life As Mom is doing a recipe swap today, around the theme of cooking with the kids. For more kid friendly recipe ideas, check out the Recipe Swap: In the Kitchen with Kids.