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Fun Food to Cook with Preschoolers, Children: Kids Cooking

Updated on November 14, 2010

Kids Cooking

Cooking is probably one of the most useful, fun, educational and enjoyable activities you can do with kids of just about any age group. What I personally found especially helpful is that when I'm out of ideas on what to do with my 3-year-old (she has yet to master the skills to concentrate on anything for more than 10 minutes or entertain herself) and I really don't want to just sit her in front of the TV, I resort to cooking with my daughter. It works wonders as the activity takes up the time and we get to bond and have fun. My little girl simply loves "helping out" in the kitchen, although at this age, a lot of supervision is required which can make cooking a little unnerving. The trick then is to stick to simple recipes that do not require a lot of time to prepare.

Kids Cooking

How is Cooking with Children Educational and Beneficial?

What do kids learn from cooking? Lots of things! They learn the names for the ingredients and utensils used in cooking. There are always interesting food names like asparagus, parsnip and pumpernickel. Spice names are even more fun and exotic: cayenne pepper, nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon. Utensils and cooking methods are wonderfully fascinating as well. There's the whisk, spatula, and colander, for instance. To make something, you can sift, marinade, baste and knead. Cooking can also enforce other areas of learning such as making alphabet or animal-shaped cookies for preschoolers, baking little gingerbread men upon reading the fairy tale "Gingerbread Man" or conduct a science experiment by making an erupting volcano jello - and eat it. For older kids, cooking also offers math lessons. Kids learn to measure and read amounts called for by the recipes as well as fractions (halves, quarters) and portions.

Cooking is also a highly sensory experience. Food comes in all kinds of textures, flavors, aromas and shapes. Bitter gourds are bright green and bumpy; Kiwis have soft fuzzy brown skin and emerald green flesh with little black seeds neatly arranged in a circle when cut in half. And what could be more fun for preschoolers than to mix the batter, knead the dough, cut shapes using cookie cutters and finally lick the bowl and their fingers clean.

Kids making chocolate chip muffins

What food to enjoy with kids

The following are fun snack foods you can enjoy with your kids.  Most requires very little preparation while some require a bit of imagination, but they will surely be a big hit with your little ones!

1. Chocolate fountain

Invest in a small chocolate fountain and watch your kids' faces light up with delight at the sight of a frothing chocolate fountain! Popular foods for dipping include, for example, marshmallows, bananas, strawberries (just about any fresh fruit really), cookies, and crackers. Better yet, have your kids come up with creative and unconventional ideas on what food items to use!

2. Cheese fondue

Cheese is a favorite with lots of kids and can make just about any vegetable taste better! Common food to dip in cheese fondue includes bread cubes, hard veggies like broccoli, baby carrots and cauliflower, pretzels, apples, fries and potato wedges, sausages. The possibilities are endless and kids can have fun experimenting with different foods.

3. Griddle cakes, pancakes, flap jacks

As one of the most popular American breakfast/brunch, why not let your kids help out in the kitchen on a lazy Sunday morning next time? Basic ingredients for pancakes usually consist of just flour, baking powder, milk and butter, though you could jazz it up with other spices and ingredients that you can either put ON or IN them. Experiment with bananas, berries, nuts, cinnamon, apples, and cream cheese.

My first Character Bento!

Not as hard as I thought!
Not as hard as I thought!

4. Food art!

Make a Christmas tree out of broccoli florets and adorn the "tree" with star-shaped carrots (use a cookie cutter); make snowmen out of mashed potatoes (use ice cream scoops to make 2 balls of mashed potatoes and pile one up on top of the other) and make eyes and buttons with peas; or shape hamburger patties into a face and make hair with parboiled spinach.  This is where you let your imagination go wild and creative juices flow!

So next time you're out of ideas on how to keep your children busy, entertained or occupied, take them into your kitchen and have fun with food!


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