• Christy Whitney

10 tips to cooking with kids👫


Often on Friday nights I’m playing with my favorite twin boys, Paxton & Skyler.  One week, we were walking home from school when Skyler asked me if we could make a pie. I’m always showing them cooking shows like Master Chef Junior to inspire them to try different ingredients and play more in the kitchen with their parents.  I asked him what kind of pie he would like to make. As we were discussing flavors, Paxton chimed in and said we should sell the pies.

This brought the conversation into a whole new direction.  “How much should we sell the pies for?" I asked. “Twenty dollars and 95 cents” Paxton replies with determination. “Why don’t we sell them for an even twenty dollars?” I replied. “Okay” they both answered happily. “How much money will we make” Skyler asked. “Well it depends on how many pies we sell,” I answer, “what are you going to use the money for?”

Harry Potter World” they both answer with excitement.

​​​​​​​Last year for Christmas, I gave them a gift card for Harry Potter World and told them we would go when they turn 10 years old. I realize, I’m possibly more excited then they are to visit magical Hogwarts. I’m a huge fan of Harry Potter:-)

​​​​​​​I digress, back to the pie conversation… “How much do we need to save to go to Harry Potter World?” I ask. “One thousand dollars,” Paxton replied.  “I want a thousand dollars too,” Skyler answers. “If we sell one hundred pies for twenty dollars each we will make two thousand dollars. However, we will probably spend around five hundred on supplies so we will make around $1,500” I say.  “That’s okay Skyler says, that’s still a lot of money.”

​​

"We will need to make the best pie in the whole world to sell it for twenty dollars” I say, Do you know 100 people that will buy the pies?” They start counting all the people they knew and by then we were home and the conversation switched to what ingredients were available for pie making.

We were lucky and found enough apples to make a pie. I showed them pictures of different types of pies they could make and they decided they wanted to make one with a lattice top.

They helped with every part of the pie making process.  They closely measured the ingredients. They helped roll out the dough and cut the lattice top stripes. The end result was magical. The kitchen was a mess. Flour was everywhere.  The sink was full of dishes.

What really mattered was that Skyler and Paxton were so proud of what they had created and were so excited for their Moms to see and taste their masterpiece.


When your kids get involved in the kitchen, they will be more excited to eat whatever you are making with them! (yes, even if it's something more healthy like a salad).

It takes a teensy bit of patience...ok, maybe a little more than that!

Yet, sooo worth it...as the entire process can be magical because of children's innate passion, curiosity and enthusiasm they bring to the entire experience!

10 tips for making cooking fun with kids

1: Make the time Cooking with kids takes patience. You don’t need to cook every meal with your kids. Depending on your families schedule, find the time once a week or once a month to plan a special meal where your kids help. The meal could be planned around breakfast, lunch or dinner. 2: Pick a good recipe Pick an age appropriate recipe for their skill set and palate. You want your kids to stay busy with multiple tasks. Pick simple ingredients for younger kids.  Teenagers start to gain a more sophisticated palate. 3: Activate their senses Encourage them to listen to the sizzle of something cooking or the fizz of sparkling water opening. Smell the aroma of baking. Feel the temperature of ingredients. Smell a variety of fresh herbs and have them touch + feel the difference of textures.  Experiment tasting sweet, salty, spicy & sour/bitter. 4: Don’t worry if your kids are picky eaters The recipe should have at least one ingredient that you know your kids like plus expose them to new foods. Kids are more likely to try new foods when they participate with the cooking.  Don’t get upset in the end if your kid doesn't like the entire meal. You’re spending quality time together and they’re learning kitchen skills they’ll utilize for their entire life. 5: You don’t need special equipment You don’t need to invest in special kids kitchen equipment. Make sure your knives are sharp. A dull knife is much more dangerous than a sharp knife. Put a wet towel under cutting board to keep it from moving. Teach your kids how to hold and use a knife using the 'Bear Claw' (fingertips curled under and knuckles pressing down on the ingredient to keep it from rolling or sliding). There are lots of online knife skills videos if you need a refresher. *If your kids aren't ready to use sharp knife, there are lots of ingredients that can be cut using a butter knife.* 6: Patience is key Making the meal would probably take less time if you did it yourself. You are creating a teachable experience for your kids. The more you cook with them, the faster and more confident they will become. Imagine someday your kids making you a meal without your help… maybe breakfast in bed? 7: Use lots of vibrant colors and different textures Use rainbow color carrots vs all orange. Experiment with different textures. Use fresh ingredients (maybe you picked together at the Farmers Market).  Save time at the end to plate the meal in a fun and enticing way. 8: Give them the power Let them make a lot of the decisions. For example...  -Making pizza, they pick the toppings -Having salad, they choose if tossed or build-your-own style -Having broccoli as a side, ask your kids how many pieces they want to eat 9: Clean up Teach your kids that cleaning up after cooking is part of the process. Have them help with all the cleaning and washing dishes. 10: Celebrate Even if the end result doesn't turn out delicious… celebrate the creation. Learn from the mistakes.

Everyone has to eat so why not make it fun and delicious!

Let's Feed Your Extraordinary,

Christy

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