Top tips for cooking with little cooks!
Cooking with your little cook should be fun for both of you! We've set out our top tips to help make the most of this special screen-free time!
- Get all of the ingredients and implements out before you start. Ask your child to help you count how many items you need if relevant to the recipe (e.g. 2 bananas, 5 carrots) to practice their maths skills.
- Read through the whole recipe before starting so you know what’s involved
- Make washing hands a habit - before you cook, when you handle food and after cooking.
- Make it fun! Many studies have shown children learn best through play and this includes cooking.
- Make the time. We find it works best to make cooking together a regular time each week - such as Saturday afternoons or Sunday mornings. None of our recipes should take over an hour to make from start to finish, including the cooking time, and many of them will be much less than that.
- Don’t stress about the mess. We would be the first to admit this isn’t always easy, but choosing a time when you aren’t expecting visitors or needing to rush out afterwards helps. Cooking together should be about connection, fun, creating memories and imparting life skills
- Use a much bigger mixing bowl than the recipe needs – this helps stop spillages!
- Be patient. Resist the urge to “do it for them” just because it’s faster. They won’t learn if you don’t let them try on their own.
- Praise their efforts. They probably won’t get things right first time and may make lots of mistakes, but praising the effort they put into it, irrespective of the result, will help nurture a determination and love of cooking in your little ones.
- A little step or stool will help very little cooks reach the worktops more easily.
- It is a marathon, not a sprint. Don’t be disheartened if plates aren’t licked clean the first time your little cook tries a new flavour, texture or colour. Research shows that toddlers may need to try a new food five to ten times before developing a taste for it, while some older kids may need even more opportunities!
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