Getting kids cooking

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The kitchen is the place where families can spend a lot of time together and where children can have fun, whether it is cooking, growing things, participating or even just watching. All children can learn through cooking and allowing them to help you will stimulate them and make them more interested in the end-result. But remember to ensure children are safe.

  • Try to avoid deep-frying as this is potentially the most dangerous of all cooking.
  • Check the heat of the oven door when it is at full blast. Some oven doors get very hot and children could be burned if they touch the door.
  • Use the back burners if you have small children and try to get into the habit of turning saucepan handles towards the back of the cooker rather than the front.
  • Don’t keep dangerous substances under the sink, but rather in a high cupboard unless you have childproof locks.
  • Avoid tripping or your children pulling themselves up on loose wires or dangling flexes.
  • Cut root vegetables into chunks and carve out a pattern or decoration on of the sides. This can be dipped into ink or paint and then printed on to paper
  • Pastry is fun as an edible play-dough. When you are making a pastry children can help you to shape, roll and decorate a pie, with leaves, apple shapes or balls.
  • Your children can also help you to make biscuits – they can mix the dough, roll it out, cut it into shapes and finally decorate it at the end.
  • Let all your children participate – if you make them feel they can do it, they will acquire confidence. Smaller children could, for instance, sieve flour and sugar into a bowl for a cake and then help you to mix it into a liquid. Your older children could help you with chopping grating or slicing or they could also help you with weighing ingredients.
  • You could also get your children to top their own homemade pizzas with a variety of toppings.
  • Children could also help with laying the table and helping you with the washing up afterwards.
  • Growing things are fun – mustard and cress are the easiest to grow. Let your children sow the seeds on a damp base (blotting or kitchen paper) in a container and sprinkle water on it daily. Do this for about a week and growth should be visible.
  • Beansprouts can be used in salads once they have sprouted. To grow sprouts, put a couple of tablespoons of dried beans, (not red kidney beans though) peas or lentils into an empty jam jar, rinse with water and put a piece of J-cloth over the top securing with an elastic band. Store in a warm dark place and rinse the beans daily. After about five days the beans will have germinated and sprouted.
  • Avocado stones can be set over water until they shoot. Children can also put parsnip or pineapple tops in a saucer with water and see how they develop roots and shoots.
  • If you have a garden, children can grow some vegetables by themselves. Radishes are easy and they grow fast.

How we can help you

If you would like support and advice, you can talk to one of our Family Support Workers by calling our confidential helpline on 0808 800 2222. You can also share experiences and advice with other parents on our Forums. Family Lives is here for you and you can contact us about any family issue, big or small.

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