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Cooking is one of those things that kids naturally gravitate to. What’s not to love? They get to make a mess, spend time with someone they love, and eat their masterpiece, too!
For adults, however, it can be stressful. Besides the mess, there are sharp knives, hot stoves, and a whole host of dangers in every drawer.
Still, it is possible to enjoy cooking with kids. In fact, it can be a great bonding experience… if you’re up for it!
Be prepared. Have all your ingredients, pots, pans, and tools ready before you bring your kids into the kitchen. If, in the middle of cooking, you have to go to the pantry to get sugar… bad things happen. Depending on your kids and how, ehem, active they are, you may want to pre-measure the ingredients, too. If you only need 3 eggs, why put 12 in front of them, right?
Make the kitchen kid friendly. Kitchen counters tend to collect stuff like a magnet. Get rid of anything on the counter you wouldn’t want your kids to play with, decorate, or spill on. Also, make sure that you’ve got a way for your kids to reach the counter. I love this two-level no-slip step stool because it doesn’t slide around the floor, and it doesn’t get slippery, even when wet.
Choose your recipe wisely. Not sure what to make, other than brownies and rice krispie treats? Check out these 12 fun recipes to make with your kids! But really, kids can help make just about anything… in some way. You don’t have to bake to get them involved.
Embrace the mess. Cooking with kids is messy. There’s no way around it. That’s not to say that you should let your kids have a flour fight (or that you shouldn’t), but, in my humble opinion, messy counters and crumby floors are a sign of time well spent. Put down the sponge, and just be with your kids. There are very few messes that can’t wait until later.
Focus on flavor over appearance. Food made by kids isn’t always the best looking, but it usually tastes pretty good. If you usually turn food service into a presentation, you may be inclined to step in and make everything look pretty. Don’t. Your kids will learn presentation by watching you… you can learn about fun by watching them.