We know exploring and preparing food is a great way to increase kids' understanding about and interest in trying new foods. However, just because it's a good idea doesn't mean it's always easy to do! But the good news is, there are lots of tips and resources for how to get kids of all ages involved in the kitchen. Here are just a few:
1. Rinsing fruits and vegetables, transferring, mixing: these can be easy ways to get the youngest kids involved. While it adds another step, try measuring into a kid-safe container, then letting kids add spices or other ingredients to a recipe. They can also transfer ingredients - for example, chopped veggies into a bowl. Check out this resource from Growing Minds for ideas of what different ages of children can do, as well as some recipes and tips!
2. Peeling and cutting: these are often older kid skills, but thinking about what utensils and types of food kids cut or peel can help younger kids get involved too. Check out this post by More Momma for knife skills for all ages, and her description of the "claw and saw" and "rocking the boat" as two ways to talk to kids about knife safety.
Kids at Holding Hands Childcare help peel potatoes:
Depending on fine motor skills an interest, little ones can help cut (or attempt)!
3. Shake: Let kids help you peel garlic (hopping encouraged). Take a tip from renowned chef Jose Andres: put a few cloves in a closed container, and have kids shake to remove the skins!
4. Construct: Even if kids can't participate in chopping or washing, get creative on how they can be involved. For example, look back at how early care provider Lynn Moore made Taco Cups with her kids.
5. Watch: Simply let kids see the produce or watch the process. Let them touch and smell herbs, hold peas in a pod, see and slice a melon before you slice it. Don't underestimate the potential in kids exploring produce straight from the CSA box or crisper drawer!
There are so many great ways - how do you like to involve kids in the kitchen?