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Cooking with your child in the kitchen

 U.S. first lady Michelle Obama poses for photographs with students from five District of Columbia schools after eating a meal using the summer crop from the White House Kitchen Garden in the State Dining Room at the White House
U.S. first lady Michelle Obama poses for photographs with students from five District of Columbia schools after eating a meal using the summer crop from the White House Kitchen Garden in the State Dining Room at the White House
Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Kids love activities that keep their hands and mind busy; cooking is an excellent activity for a child of most any age. There are a variety of things kids can do to help in the kitchen: kids can help with shopping for the ingredients, locating the ingredients, organizing the cooking ingredients and materials, measuring the ingredients, tasting the recipe and gain an overall confidence just by helping out in the kitchen.

When you allow your child to help out and cook in the kitchen, you never know what path you may be leading them on for the future.

Start with the list

If a child is old enough to write, have he or she write down the ingredients needed for the cooking activity on a list to take to the store. Help your child with spelling and then have your child read back the list of ingredients. This is a small but fun reading activity for your child to start in the cooking process. Bring your along your list to the store and your child can also help to locate the ingredients, searching for printed containers is also a great extension reading activity for kids.

Organize the ingredients

Once the ingredients are purchased, you and your child can organize the ingredients into groups such as the dry and wet ingredients or organize them in the order they will be used. When cooking, everyone organizes differently and showing your child different ways to organize the ingredients helps with the brain processing skills and hand and mind coordination.

Count out the ingredients

Once you are ready to begin cooking, kids love helping out by counting out the eggs, cups of milk, and measuring dry ingredients. Measuring ingredients is also an excellent math activity and many children have little or no concept of teaspoons, tablespoons, cups etc. so measuring is a really fun activity and also a great learning experience.

Be adventurous with tasting

When a child helps to cook in the kitchen, he or she may be more willing to taste new foods. Some children who are picky eaters and hesitant about trying new foods may be more willing when they are right there in the kitchen and involved with the cooking process. Make it a joint activity and try the foods together; a child is typically more enthusiastic to do something new if they have someone else to share the experience with, especially a parent or caretaker.

Confidence is gained in the kitchen

When kids are allowed to help in the kitchen and feel like they are a part of the process and were successful; this helps to boosts the child's confidence. When a child is given positive reinforcement in the kitchen and is having fun, he or she will walk away from the experience feeling good and will want to do it again; your child will have the wonderful feeling of success!