Children love cooking!
It’s creative and fun, you get to eat at the end, and sample ingredients along the way. It’s a skill that is often passed on from generation to generation, and can create many happy memories. Here are five great reasons to cook with your child.
1. Develop Food Confidence
Try to imagine that you’d never handled raw meat, fresh dough or uncooked onion and that you were asked to describe them to a child. It would be a challenge! Cooking together allows children to engage their senses and explore the feel, smell and if appropriate, the taste of raw ingredients. They will develop the skills and confidence to recognise when ingredients are fresh, ripe or unsafe and how to recognise when food is cooked, from the change of colour, texture and taste.
Cooking is an opportunity to start building positive associations with food and could help to avoid ‘fussy eaters,’ as children are usually keen to taste the food that they have prepared.
2. Teach Planning
In today’s busy world, time is often tight, but occasionally it is worth making the time to plan a meal with a child from start to finish. How about as a holiday activity for example?
Get them involved with selecting a recipe and shopping for ingredients and then talk about how to plan the cooking so that all the parts of the meal are ready at the same time. Knowing how to plan a successful meal is a great life skill.
3. Family Bonding
Families often have favourite recipes that everyone looks forward to. Passing these on through the generations is a special thing to do as it is a part of social culture.
Hopefully, cooking together will lead to eating together, which is an opportunity to chat about your day and enjoy each other’s company. Families don’t always have the time to sit down and eat, which is a shame as food brings people together.
4. Cook and Learn
Cooking encompasses a range of learning possibilities. Maths is everywhere from counting, measuring, fractions and timing. Following a recipe requires reading, following instructions, planning and completing mini projects. There are opportunities to understand the science of heat on ingredients and the chemistry of yeast to help bread rise for example.
There is also the nutritional value of food to explore. Chocolate cake is delicious, but it’s not advisable to eat a whole one!
Children need to understand that kitchens should be treated with respect as knives are sharp, ovens are hot and undercooked food is a risk to health. They will usually rise to the challenge of responsibility if the dangers are explained and these are all valuable skills that will be put to good use in later life.
It’s important that children do age appropriate tasks, but one safety measure that applies across the ages is hand washing!
Big and Little Cook Classes
If you feel that your child would benefit from learning how to cook, but aren’t quite sure where to start, why not sign up for one of our ‘Big and Little Cook’ Classes. We really enjoy these classes at Food Sorcery as they are all about spending time with your child and cooking in a fun and relaxed environment.