One of the way to entertain the whole family during the lock down is to have fun cooking…or at least playing with food!

Cooking with kids educates them and the family to make healthy food choices through hands-on learning with fresh, affordable ingredients.

According to their age, you can choose the best recipe and tools to use. If you are cooking with toddlers you can use a butter knife instead of a regular one, you can ask your kid to break vegetables instead of cutting them and also they can have fun washing  and seasoning ingredients.

Here are some little tips to make cooking a fun experience:

  • Set up your work space before you start, removing dangerous kitchen tools and any potential distraction for the kids.
  • Put your kids in clothes you don’t mind getting dirty, they can wear an apron and you can tie back long hair.
  • Teach your little ones about food hygiene ensuring they wash their hands before starting and between handling raw food and cooked one.
  • Explain to your children what you are going to do step by step and decide who is going to do what. Show them a picture of the end result so they know their purpose.
  • Use the right kitchen tools to make their job easier: learning tower (a stool to reach the countertop in safety), nylon knives (safer than regular ones and perfect to cut softer vegetables and fruits, cheeses and bread), kids oven mitts, long handled wooden spoons, plastic measuring cups and spoons, silicone bowls, bowl stabiliser (for the little ones who can’t old the bowl with one hand and stir with the other), mini spatula.
  • Cooking together can be a learning opportunity: name all the ingredients, talk about their origin, and taste them. Weighing ingredients can challenge their math skills and and mixing, pouring and sprinkling  improve kids motor skills and coordination.
  • Teach your kids which food is safe to eat raw and ask them to use spoons to taste instead of fingers.
  • Choose the right task to assign to any age group. Older kids can help to chop and cook while toddlers can wash vegetables, stir ingredients together, slice soft-cooked vegetables and soft fruit, sprinkle salt and peppers, crack and beat eggs.
  • Try not to stress about cooking with your kids so they will enjoy the experience better. There are plenty of basic recipes to start with. In addition, you can find easy ways for them to achieve their tasks. Mix ingredients using a jar so they can fill it and shake it instead of using kitchen tools harder to handle.
  • Rice bowls, salads, parfait and fruit kebabs are great introductory dishes that allow space to creativity using different motor skills.
  • Older kids and teenagers can also start writing down the recipes they enjoyed better making and eating! Get them a diary to start to collect them, ask them to write them down, adding any cooking tips you suggested and cooking times. Next time they will be able to make them again without your help!

For young kids, cooking might be as fun as any other messy activity (Play-Doh, painting or making slime) but it will give them the confidence to look at food like something fun to do and the curiosity to try new ingredients (even the green ones!). Cooking with your older kids will challenge them and make them feel more independent.

Organise a fun family pizza and movie night: make the pizza dough with your older kids, ask your little ones to top it up with their favourite ingredients and enjoy the dinner watching a funny movie!

Of course don’t forget to tag us on Instagram, we would love to celebrate your kids food creations!