See it from a different angle
As an adult, you might not think of cooking as anything more than a mundane experience, a way to put food on the table a few times a day. Some people might even consider it a chore that you have to do to live. To your kids, however, cooking together with them might be like opening up an entirely new world of possibilities.
Cooking has the potential to be something so much more than you might perceive it to be as you try to navigate your hectic adult lifestyle. Kids see the world from another perspective, and cooking is no different.
Cooking with Kids is Magical
One of the problems with adulthood is how routine and repetition often cloud how we see the world with a veil of cynicism.
Over time, we might forget the thrill of hanging out with mom, dad, or even a grandparent and getting to help with adding ingredients or peeling vegetables. One of the most magical moments of cooking is watching someone take individual ingredients like flour and sugar, baking soda, salt, and other ingredients and combine them to form a cake.
With the right combinations, equipment, heat, and time you have performed nothing short of sorcery. The same is true of other methods of cooking besides baking. Through heat, salt, acidity, and technique, you bring out the sugars in onions with heat, sweat aromatics, and change the flavor of sauces through reductions.
When you look at cooking in other ways, you see that magic is still left in this world.
Not only is cooking necessary to feed yourself and your family, but cooking also has other practical applications. By measuring ingredients, we put mathematics to use every day. Different proportions and measurements allow us to adjust how many people we can feed with every meal.
Cooking can be fascinating, and a passion for cooking can even open up different venues for career opportunities. Teaching kids how to cook help prepare them to be independent and have proper nutrition, and it can also equip them with job skills.
An Opportunity for Connection
Cooking together with your kids is also a great way to give your kids social skills since cooking is a great way to bring people together.
Not only does it give you the chance to bond with your kids as a teacher, but also you are just able to spend time with them. Something as simple as putting together a plate of nachos or making soup together is an experience they will likely remember for the rest of their lives.
As much as kids dedicate themselves to their electronics and social media, and teenagers invest time with their friends, at their core, kids just want time with their parents. That need to connect and spend quality time with you is important in their social development and familial bonding.
At some point, even the ability to challenge those boundaries and apply what they have learned to incorporate their ideas and independence in recipes they will eventually create.
A common thread throughout families is often reflected in time-honored family recipes that often span generations. Culture is not demonstrated in statues or architecture. It isn’t celebrated in monuments or even music nearly as much as in cooking traditions.
These cultural identifiers are born and perpetuated in the home. With each generation, something is added and might be lost or found again. Cooking brings together entire families and allows people to share their stories on a multi-generational level.
Kid-Safe Cooking for Different Stages
The ideal age to start kids off with cooking can be as young as they begin to show interest. Many of us remember being scolded to stay away from the stove and might even carry that reluctance well into adulthood!
But even toddlers or small children show an interest in cooking, which should be encouraged as long as they are capable of helping out safely. Many kids start just licking the beaters after making frosting for a cake.
- Toddlers: There are some toddler-friendly recipes out there, but a great place to start at this age is by having them add pre-measured ingredients as you are putting a recipe together.
- Smaller children: Beating batters together, whisking eggs, and even peeling potatoes (with a safe peeler and plenty of supervision) is an excellent gateway to cooking.
- Pre-teens: Giving these kids specialized tasks such as grating cheese, collecting ingredients, and even browning beef or caramelizing onions is an excellent way to manage more technical and even dangerous aspects of cooking.
- Teenagers: Since this is before they leap independence, teens should be at the level where they can be trusted with operating a stove or oven by themselves, cutting up veggies or meats, and even making a roux or bechamel sauce.
Challenge your teen by asking them to create a meal and turn it into a contest. Teens with an infinity for cooking will take a challenge like that and run with it! It’s also a good way to introduce them to the secret weapon of the dating world: being a good cook! While their friends are boiling ramen noodles in college, they will roast chicken or make eggplant parmesan like an expert.
Cooking Together With Kids: Opening up a World of Possibilities
Cooking with your kids is a great way to bridge that generational gap, give them some practical experience, build self-esteem and confidence, and instill independent thinking into their developmental needs. Cooking requires critical thinking, timing, and problem-solving skills. It is also an excellent way to develop teamwork and family traditions.
If you would like to learn more about ways to connect with your kids, contact us! We are always looking for new ways to bring families together and provide kids and parents with sources of all sorts of adventures.