One of my fondest memories of Noni (since I couldn’t say nana when I learned to talk) was cooking in the kitchen. I knew her ‘secret’ recipe for spaghetti and wish I had taken the initiative to cook with her more as an adult. It bothers me that I never got her corned beef recipe. The truth is, having your children in the kitchen can be a great thing, too. It can start as a hobby but become an excellent way for you to teach them essential life skills while spending time with them and letting them feel close to you. 

What It Can Teach Them

Cooking in the kitchen together teaches them life skills they can use later. It also fosters independence and lets them understand where their food comes from. If you’re like me and you love making food from other cultures, it can give them a new interest in other cultures while letting them be more open to trying different foods. It’s also a great math or science lesson regarding the ingredients, temperature, and food measurements. But the best thing is that it can give you a chance to connect with your family, strengthen your bond, and let you make memories that will never fade away, no matter how many years pass. Just make sure you teach your children kitchen safety first and watch them as they chop or bake. 

Getting Started in The Store

One thing that can help interest them in cooking is asking them what they want to eat. Let them help with dinner or even make a menu where they help you. It can also be fun to take your children to the store (even the dollar stores have kitchen items now in cute colors if you’re on a budget) and let them pick out some tools to help.

Make It a Game 

Turning cooking into a game can also be a fun idea. For instance, if carrots or peas were an ingredient you wanted to use in dinner, ask your child how they think it could be incorporated. You might be surprised by their answer (I’ve heard things like carrot juice and mushy pea potatoes). Using a lot of color can also be fun to get them interested in the kitchen.

Have A Theme

Making it more fun for them takes away the feeling of a chore and turns it into a fun activity. One thing I like to do is theme time. So, my family loves 90’s cartoons, and I grew up with the Rugrats. Similarly, I’m sure your children will have a show they love. Turn it into dinner. For example, in one episode, the main character wants to try dog food. So, for a theme night, ‘dog food’ could be Sloppy Joes, pulled pork, or anything to make the meal more fun and exciting for your family. Don’t sweat it if you don’t have a favorite show or movie! You can still help your little ones develop ideas for themes like space or the beach.

Let Them Hunt with You

One thing that got me into cooking was looking for recipes. I love thrifting, and when I look, I can find cookbooks from the early nineteen hundreds (1950, ’60s, etc.) and kid’s cookbooks that have sweet recipes and nostalgia wrapped in one. Letting your kids pick their cookbooks can also be an excellent start for their journey! If you’re not one to thrift in person, never fear. You can always find vintage items online now, too.

Becoming A Chef

By finding cute or fun recipes, you’ll ensure that your children love cooking and want to help out. Some recipes I would recommend with your children could be spaghetti nests for a fun and exciting play on food, a fantastic chocolate chip cookiefun princess toast,  or pizza sandwiches. If your child feels up to it, let them help with more complex recipes, too! You don’t have to wait until they are teenagers. Even when they are younger, they can also help do small things.

Why It’s Important

Kids grow up faster than we think, and all too soon, they are ready to be independent and not lean on us as much. Cooking and making memories with your children not only ensures that they want to feel closer, but it can also create a lasting bond that will accompany them to adulthood. Make cooking fun, and it will be something they will teach their children. Have fun making beautiful memories and spilling flour on new clothes or getting chocolate smudged on your face. The joy is worth every second of cleaning up!

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