Cooking is a very important life skill and it should be imparted to the next generation early on. These days we are so obsessed with teaching our children everything, that we often forget about this basic life skill. We teach them to swim, we give them music lessons, dance classes, sports camp etc, but who will teach them the most basic life skill?
It is very easy to start laying the foundations of cooking early on. When your child is a toddler, he is most interested in everything that you do. He wants to do all the activities you do, he watches you and learns from you. It is the best time to introduce your children to the kitchen.
No matter at what age you start, cooking with children should start with mastering a few basic skills. Here are a few basic kitchen activities that your children (even 4-5 year olds) can be involved in.
- Washing fruit and vegetables. Just give them a bowl of water and show them how to rub the dirt away. You will need to change the water in the bowl, but remember you are imparting a skill here!
- Spreading butter, jam or honey on toast. The first time they do it will be a mess. You will want to take over and do it yourself, but please don't. A little practice and your children will master this.
- Cutting and chopping. Start by giving them a butter knife. It can be used to cut soft fruit like bananas, strawberries, avocado etc. Once they have mastered it, and if they are old enough, you can allow them to be more adventurous.
- Kneading is the most fun activity for children. All kids love to get messy and kneading is a kind of mess in hands. There will be a lot of cleaning up involved, but why not?
- Mixing and stirring is also fun for children. When you are making a batter for pakoras or pancakes, allow the children to mix it for you.
- Little activities like cracking open eggs, peeling a boiled egg or shelling peas etc are very interesting for little children.
As your children get more skilled, you can slowly introduce them to more complex activities. When they grow up, they will surely thank you for teaching them the most basic skill of life!