Cooking with your kids on the school holidays can be so much more than a fun family activity that helps keep them occupied. We have a couple of fun recipe ideas that you can do as either savoury or sweet and they make sure gluten free kids can be part of the fun and learning that is, cooking together!
Cooking can help your children build basic skills like: counting (we need 6 strawberries), measurement (3.5 table spoons of tomato paste), sequences and following instructions (first we get the pizza tray out, next we place the pizza base on the tray), reading the recipe together creates the opportunity for your child to hear and learn new words and practice attentive listening and following verbal instructions. Allow your kitchen creations to be artful, use colourful fruit and vegetables, finger paint with sauces you could practice writing letters and numbers in your pizza base sauce—it’s edible art and a valuable sensory experience!
Young children thrive on demonstrating their independence. With a little forethought, there really is a lot of tasks little people can help with safely, though it might ask us to ensure we show a lot of patience. Even the littlest helpers can pitch in with tearing herbs or salad leaves, arranging pre-cut ingredients or even practicing their cutting skills with safety knives (we love these) and even cleaning up. Being encouraging and letting children know their input is valuable will set the tone for positive attitudes toward meal preparation in the future. Letting children create a special name for the meal they have prepared is a fun way for them to take ownership over their work and exercise some creativity.
You might like to try these suggestions for introducing cooking in an age appropriate way:
- Create a picture recipe with simple images and talk about each step.
- If you are preparing ingredients in advance talk to children about the steps you took to prepare them (washing, coring, cutting, peeling etc.)
- Discuss any rules about using equipment and other safety considerations, for older children let them practice identifying safety hazards and how they will manage the dangers safely.
- Include everyone in the clean-up process, water play, motor skills, attention to detail and an essential life skill—this is a valuable learning opportunity and what kid doesn’t love bubbles in the sink?!
Mix, match and include your own ingredients to make them your own but here’s some of our simple recipe suggestions: