At our Cuddles Childcare Centres in Perth, we believe in learning through play. We encourage a lot of creative play because children learn with absolutely no effort expended toward learning. However, one thing is even better than learning through play: learning through experience. And one of the most fun things your child can experience with you is cooking.
At first, this might sound too complicated or too dangerous, but you won’t be teaching your child to actually cook at first. You will be teaching your child to help. This is fun for both parent and child and is a wonderful bonding experience. In addition, your child will get incredible satisfaction from being able to help do something “grown-up” and even more satisfaction from eating the results.
Now You’re Cooking…
You can involve your child from the beginning of the process, including choosing what to make. Even two choices will allow your child to become immersed in the process and feel like they chose what food you will be making together.
After choosing what to cook, your child can help you get out all of the ingredients. Then, there will be pots, pans and utensils to find and prep. All of the “little jobs” on the periphery of cooking are perfect for your child, as long as they don’t require fully-developed fine motor skills. However, such tasks as rolling dough or stirring ingredients together are perfect for most children.
Tasting the food frequently will ensure that your child wants to help as often as possible. This is also a great time to introduce your child to healthy choices: what foods are good for them.
What’s on the Menu?
Obviously, you aren’t going to ask your child to help you prepare Baked Alaska, but there are plenty of foods that are great for cooking with your child. Blueberry, banana or apple muffins are great choices, as are carrot, pumpkin or cheese. Biscuits are fun and you can allow your child to cut them out either with a stamper for conventional biscuits or with a dull knife for freeform shapes.
Pizza may be one of the most fun collaborations you will have when cooking with your child, and it tastes great, too.
Contact us for more information about cooking with preschoolers.