With schools being closed, we know a lot of families are spending a lot more time together right now. While we all cherish our time with our families, but the current situation in our country has become a little extreme. Kids are missing playing and interacting with their friends--and parents are missing the times their kids would go off and play with their friends for a bit. Keeping children engaged in a productive way all day, everyday can be exhausting, so we thought we'd share some of our favorite cooking related activities to keep kids engaged. Also--be sure to check out our social media pages to join in our Cooking with Kids contest!
Making Pizza: This is a good one in a lot of ways. First of all, with the exception of taking the pizza in and out of the oven, your kid can be involved at every phase of the process, whether rolling out the dough, spreading sauce and cheese, and spreading toppings kids of all ages can participate. You may need to "redistribute" cheese, sauce and toppings depending upon the age of your kid, but picking toppings means your child can have ownership of what type of pizza they're making! We spread flour on our counter top when we roll out the dough, to keep it from sticking, and then after eating, we slide around on the flour we spilled on floor and have a "dance party"
Bake Cookies: Another one your child can be involved at nearly every step. Mixing and rolling out dough are easy enough. You could simply decorate with sprinkles, or get a little more complicated with icing, but if making sugar cookies you can get some fun cookie cutters and tap into your kids imagination. Keep it fun though! It doesn't really matter if that cookie really looks like a dog or not...it'll still be yummy!
- Make Ice Cream: Let your child help pick the recipe you want to make and mix it. They'll get excited as they watch their mixture turn from liquid into ice cream. The biggest thing here is to plan ahead. Most ice cream maker require you to put a part in the freezer for about 24hrs before use. Your child isn't going to say "no" to making ice cream (as long as they know they get to eat it at the end) so put that part in the freezer the day before asking them!
How much your child will be able to participate will vary depending on their age of course, but even giving them the simplest of tasks can make them feel connected to the food your making. Before getting to our favorite things to do, a few simple tips:
- Make something they know they like. This may seem obvious, but they'll stay a lot more engaged when they know what the payoff is! Also, this is a great opportunity for your child to feel a sense of accomplishment. When they eat what they've helped make, and find out they can make something delicious, they're going to be proud of themselves.
- Keep it fun. Don't make it seem like a chore. Don't worry if something gets messed up. It can be a learning experience about the importance of following directions (or recipes) for sure, but if it starts to feel like "work", they may not want to do it again--no matter how tasty the treat is.
- Embrace the mess. You can clean up later. They can help (or not), but for them, making a mess can be part of the fun!