Thursday, September 6, 2012

My first grader is great at academics, but my goal is not to raise a “brain”. I want to make sure that she is able to live on her own one day. This is why she is learning some basic kitchen skills during “cooking classes” with Mama. Here is a photo account of one of them.
Cooking Class With Mama
This post was updated on August 21, 2014 with new graphics and a resource section. Disclosure: I am an Amazon associate and this post contains affiliate links. For full disclosure, please click here and thank you for supporting my blog!

1. Let your kids choose a recipe

Smarty looked through several of cookbooks for kids from our own collection and from the library and chose Stone Soup from My First Cookbook by Paula Deen
Kids cook - choosing recipes

2. Go Shopping

I asked Smarty to check whether we have all the necessary ingredients. It was also a good opportunity to get her more familiar with where we keep things in our kitchen and garage. We didn’t have everything we needed, so she made a shopping list. While we went shopping, she insisted that she absolutely needed a cheap plastic ring from those blasted toy dispensers. She blows all her allowance on these toys.

3. Peel Vegetables

Peeling carrots was a great problem solving exercise. Is it easier to peel a carrot holding it vertically or putting it back down on the board as I suggested. Eventually Smarty agreed that peeling carrots when they are not trying to slip from your fingers is easier. Peeling potatoes proved too difficult for her so far.
Peeling Carrots

4. Cut Vegetables

My husband and I disagree a little bit about whether our daughter is ready to use a sharp knife. I do supervise her closely when she uses a knife and I “scaffold” her by first cutting vegetables into smaller pieces. In general, I think that a sharp knife and a firm vegetable, such as a potato, is safer than a bad knife and a soft tomato. You also don’t want to try it if your child is too tired, but Smarty really perked up after munching on some carrots and was very focused while working with a “real knife”
Learning to cut vegetables

5. Don’t Forget Less Glamorous Parts

Smarty is eager to help in the kitchen, but… she conveniently disappears once the “interesting part” is done. We are working on staying on to help with clean up, setting the table, and with making sure that dinner doesn’t burn. I admit that we are not as consistent as we should be with this part. 

6. Connect With Your Child

One good part about cooking together is not just that you put dinner on the table while your child is “attended to”. In fact, joint cooking doesn’t work for me on the nights when I am stressed or in a hurry, because cooking with young children certainly takes more time and requires patience and ability to overlook or quickly correct inevitable mistakes. Cooking together is a bonding time where we can chat, taste some of the ingredients, and work as a team while creating something useful – dinner for our family. Cooking together also helps my picky eater to be a little more adventurous in trying new foods. I won’t claim that it always works, but at least she enjoys the process if not the result.

More Resources About Kids in the Kitchen

Follow My Pinterest Board Kids in the Kitchen
Follow Natalie's board Kids in the Kitchen on Pinterest.

Your Turn

How do you get your kids to stay and clean up after cooking?


maryanne @ mama smiles said...

I love this post! It sounds like a fun afternoon together!

Ticia said...

Awwww, how sweet. It sounds like how a lot of my cooking sessions go.

Momand Kiddo said...

This is all so cute and delicious!

Dine said...

Good!! my girl like cooking too ;-)

Christy said...

Fantastic. WE just decided to let the kids plan and cook dinner once a week - they have to work together. I am looking forward to it.

Kelly said...

How fun! She is getting so grown up. This sounds like a fun tradition. My mom had me cook dinners on Monday nights when I was a teen....the cook didn't have to clean up :) What did you think of the cookbook?

Kelly at Little Wonders' Days