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COOKING WITH KIDS!

Benefits of Cooking with Kids
There are all sorts of things that your child can learn while helping you to cook in the kitchen.  These include :
 
New words (whisk, peel, grate, juice)
Mathematical concepts (half, one teaspoon, 30 minutes)
An appreciation for doing things step by step
Maybe even some patience while waiting for the cake to rise!
 
Cooking with kids gives you the chance to introduce them to a range of fresh and healthy foods and is super family fun.  It is also how you can turn a chore into a way to spend time with your children.  The golden rule is to have everything ready to go, a lot of patience and a lot of time!  And remember the kitchen can be a dangerous place as well, so make sure knives, electrical appliances and hot items are out of reach of little fingers.  This is a great chance to teach your mini master chef about safety in the house.
 
Cooking with Toddlers
Almost everything that involves a toddler involves time and patience.  This means it is a good idea to save cooking together when you have plenty to spare.
 
At this age your child will mostly be watching and learning, but toddlers can help with things like greasing the muffin tin and handing over utensils.  Simple recipes such as pita bread pizza, fruit salad and green salad wont drag things out too long so they wont lose interest. 
 
Many tasks are still difficult for toddlers to manager alone.  So it can be a good idea to focus on thanking your toddler for helping rather than trying to teach them to do something perfectly.
 
Cooking with Preschoolers
With pre-schoolers you can talk about which foods are healthy and why.  This is also a good age to introduce recipes that involve “building”.  This could include layering toppings on a pizza base or spooning yoghurt, weetbix and fruit into a glass to make a tasty and healthy breakfast.  Preschoolers can also help set the table, serve food and clean up.  Cooking also helps pre-schoolers learn basics about measuring, counting and washing vegetables and fruit as well as new words.
 
Cooking with School Age Children
Once at school your child will probably love helping in the kitchen and suggesting what to eat for dinner.  Your child can do the dishes and set and clean the table, pack and unpack the dishwasher. 
 
They can start to help with more complex meals such as pasta, soups, fried rice and biscuits.  This is also a good age to involve your child in choosing fruit and vegetables and help you write your shopping list.  You can teach your child about what is in season and which vegetables look fresh.  Let your child pick out the fruit and vegetables for the next few meals, they will have a great sense of responsibility.