If letting your kids loose in the kitchen during the hustle and bustle of an ordinary weekday seems overwhelming, considering letting them flex their culinary muscles during their break from school. Allowing your kids to create in the kitchen is an inexpensive, creative and practical way to burst the boredom blues, while feeding your family at the same time.
Age Appropriate Activities
For the pre-school set, consider making food crafts as opposed to complete meals. The Family Fun website is loaded with tasty ideas like clever clovers for St. Patrick’s Day, and crispy worms perfect for a “Welcome, Spring” celebration.
Six to eight year olds will delight in making foods for the family. Enlist these kids to make homemade pizza dough, complete with all the toppings for a make-your-own-pizza night. Alternatively, select a family-friendly movie and make a meal that pairs well with it.
Tweens are a great group to keep busy in the kitchen. Provide them with complete recipes and ingredients, and they should be able to navigate most simple dishes on their own or with minimal adult supervision. If you’re feeling extra brave, host a group of kids and put on an Iron Chef-style cooking competition.
Take a culinary tour of the world, and teach junior chefs about foods from far away places. Choose a country or continent, have your child do some research on the foods that come from that region and together you can create a feast for the family.
Some possible menu ideas are:
Mexican: Fruit gazpacho and three-cheese quesadillas with guacamole
French: Poisson en papilotte and individual chocolate mousse
Asian: Scallion soup with sesame noodles in take-out boxes, homemade fortune cookies
Italian: Basil, tomato and bocconcini skewers and cheesy baked calzones
Indian: Curry potato puffs and cucumber raita with naan
Middle Eastern: Couscous Tabouli and hummus with warm pita and olives
English: Cinnamon scones with lemon curd and preserves
Host a Party
Do you have a birthday in your family? Consider hosting a cooking party. Invite no more than ten kids, provide everyone with paper chef hats and aprons and have them make the party food. Award prizes for “Most Creative Use of An Ingredient” and “Best Presentation”.
If you’re new to cooking with your kids here is a list of recommended books and websites to get you started:
Kids Cook 1.2.3, by Rozanne Gold
Cooking Fun: 121 Simple Recipes to Make with Kids, by Rae Grant
William Sonoma, The Kids Cookbook, Abigail Dodge