The benefits of cooking with children are almost too many to cover in one blog! Spending time in the kitchen and cooking new recipes helps children to develop a positive connection to all different types of foods, including fruits and vegetables. Forming a positive experience with fresh foods is so important because healthy foods are the foundation for good nutrition. Children will also learn basic cooking skills that they can use for the rest of their lives.
Since children learn best by touching, tasting, feeling, smelling, and listening, they love activities in the kitchen because they can use all their senses. Cooking with kids provides practical experience with many essential skills such as reading, following directions, and measuring. Getting involved in cooking helps your child to develop fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and even early concepts of math and science. There are just so many great benefits to cooking with kids.
Almost any recipe can be adapted in order to make it with help from the kids, but I find that making something that’s fun and that they like is a great place to start! Most kids like pizza, right? It’s the perfect thing to make with children – fun and easy! Use unconventional bases as the crust like French bread, English muffins, or tortillas for an easy start. Then line up the potential toppings and let the kiddos pile on what they want on their individual pizza.
Here’s a simple basic start: First, brush a little olive oil on the crust you’re using. Then use our Calabrian Pepper & Sweet Tomato Fennel Spread as an easy and delicious sauce. From there just add cheese and any other toppings you like! Bake at 400 until the cheese is melted. The children will love eating their very own creations.
Our children are more capable than we give them credit for. Don’t be afraid to bring little ones into the kitchen to help. One tip for teaching small kids to do things like pour drinks or spread peanut butter and jelly is to open your dishwasher and use that as their tabletop. It's the right height and it’s self-cleaning! Close the door and run the next load of dishes. 😉
Finally, cooking with kids is great family time. It is an opportunity to meal plan, look for recipes, and share ideas on why and how to make meals healthier for the whole family.