Kids love the kitchen. From a very young age they are playing with wooden spoons, pans and anything else you can entertain them with while you are trying to put a meal together. They love the little kitchen sets and pretend food that can keep them busy for hours making their special meal for whoever will play along. The conversations they have with themselves while pretend cooking is endearing. As they get older they seem to continue to want to help with whatever you might be doing in the kitchen. In their mind it seems to be where it is all happening. Getting your children involved, although messy at times, can be a rewarding activity for the whole family. "A family that cooks together stays together." You need to look past the flour on everything, the sticky fingers and the sugar that you continue to step in and encourage their interest. The key is to give them jobs that are appropriate for their age level so they are helping without getting discouraged.
As a grandmother, I look forward to the times I have together in the kitchen with my grandchildren. Passing down some family recipes or trying out some new ideas. One of the first memories of cooking with my granddaughter still makes me laugh. I had the help of 2 sister- in- laws and we were making sugar cookies. Eloise was 3 and able to help a little with the cookie dough but seemed to have more fun with the icing. It was a spoonful of icing for the cookie and a spoonful of icing for Eloise. We ,of course, were trying to discourage it but were laughing each time so it continued. My daughter came in to see what fun we were having and was not amused. I blamed the sister-in-laws, of course.
So now that Eloise is 11 we have moved on to healthier and more challenging recipe options. I am so excited that she has become so interested in cooking and baking, one of my favorite things to do. It gives us another thing in common and something we can have fun with together. She sends me pictures of things she has made and we talk about what we might make the next time. She has been collecting kitchen tools and cookbooks which adds to her passion in the kitchen. One of her favorites is the The Cookbook for Kids from Williams Sonoma. It is full of great recipes that she can do on her own. It has great pictures and ingredient lists for what you might need to get at the store. There are also little "fun facts" about the recipe or one of its ingredients which makes it fun and interesting.
Children learn by touching, tasting, smelling, feeling, reading, observing and listening. The kitchen is a perfect environment for learning. Here is a list of 10 things that your child or Grandchild will benefit from spending time with you in the kitchen.
Improves Reading Skills
Teaches Life Skills
Increases Math Skills
Enhances Fine Motor Skills
Encourages Family Bonding
Introduces Kids to Scientific Concepts
Increases Language Development
Introduces Them to Other Cultures
Lots of Fun
So invite those sticky fingers to your kitchen and create something wonderful together, mess and all. The memories you create will last a lifetime!