The writer got her son to help in the kitchen when he was just three! Try out her recipe of Cake Pops with your child.
By Jyoti Watchmaker
It’s always a great idea to involve kids in the kitchen. As a mum of a nine-year-old and an avid cook myself, I initiated my son into baking workshops and helping in the kitchen since he was just three. Nowadays, with gadgets and IPad as a distraction, getting them to help in the kitchen will make them feel useful and responsible. It also gives us a chance to spend some quality time together. You can start as young as a pre-schooler and even have your teens off the Play Station to whisk an egg!
Here are some benefits:
Stimulates the senses
While whipping up a dish, a child can smell ingredients, touch and feel the texture, taste the flavours and see the different colours of materials. As a pre- schooler, my son learnt about different kinds of fruits, vegetables, pulses, food items and colours, by simply arranging the ingredients on the kitchen counter.
For children who are five years and above, it’s also a way to learn Maths skills with measurements and quantities. Kids of that age are curious and can be taught about healthy eating, nutrition, how food is grown and the basic science behind the food chain. With recipe books, children also learn to read and follow simple instructions.
I have also done many Lil Chef themed play dates for Parikshit and his friends. To add to the experience, we started with making a chef’s hat or a disposable apron out of a basic plastic bag. The kids enjoyed making and eating food made by them. A lot of party planners are now doing chef-themed birthday parties inspired by MasterChef on TV.
In my experience, cooking with kids can also help them develop fine motor skills. From holding a spoon to stirring, to patting the dough, to hand and eye coordination, the benefits are many. For younger ones, turning pages of a recipe book is also motor skill
Another advantage of cooking with kids is that they learn about food hygiene.
You need to be involved and patient with kids in the kitchen. Here are some tips to
*Start with basic flameless cooking, recipes like cake pops, cold sandwiches, baking is easier to do for safety purposes. Make sure to keep young ones away from fire, knifes, knobs and kitchen appliances. Keep reminding them about safety rules to follow.
*With kids one has to be patient, so be sure that a recipe will take a longer time to make. Don’t be in a hurry, rather set extra time and plan in advance.
*Also don’t be afraid of the mess, instead “Bless the mess” and take their help in clearing it up.
My son’s favourite flameless, easy-to- do recipe. This one is a playdate favourite as it’s sweet too!
Cake frosting (readymade ones are available in the market)
Ice cream sticks
*Just crush a tea cake to make it crumbly, it can be any flavour.
*Add the frosting to bind and shape into balls.
*Just roll it over the sprinklers to add colour; even gems can be used.
*Let it set in the fridge for 3-4 hours. Finally, take it out and add ice cream sticks to hold the balls.