Young children love to be “little chefs” in the kitchen. Around the age of four they can actually make a few simple recipes (always with the supervision of an adult, of course!). When children help prepare food, they are more likely to try new foods and recipes. It is also an enjoyable way to spend time with your child.
Summer is a prefect time to try new veggies and fruits, too. Take your child to the local Farmer’s Market as you plan for your weekly menus.
Cooking uses skills that include early math (in the measuring, comparing) and fine motor skills (in the stirring, kneading), and helps children become aware of good nutrition at an early age that hopefully will last into adulthood.
Here are a few recipes that are easy for children to help make:
Ingredients: pita round, spaghetti sauce, mozzarella cheese, fresh oregano, fresh basil
You will need: kitchen shears, baking sheet, cheese grater, waxed paper, mixing bowl, spoon
Using kitchen shears cut a circle from the top layer of the pita. Place pita on tray. Use shears to cut up oregano and basil into bowl. Add part of jar of spaghetti sauce to bowl and mix. Spoon sauce into pita. . Grate cheese is it is in a block. Spread cheese over the sauce and bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes. (you can also use an English muffin or bagel for the pizza base and add other toppings like pepperoni, mushrooms, green peppers, as well)
Ingredients: 1 lettuce leaf, 1 pineapple ring, 1/2 banana, 1/2 cup cottage cheese, 3 pitted cherries
You will need: plate, knife, measuring cups, spoon
Place lettuce leaf on plate. Put pineapple ring on top of lettuce. Peel banana. Stand banana inside pineapple ring. Use spoon to decorate banana with cottage cheese and cherries.
Ingredients: 1 package blue jello, 1 cup boiling water, 2 cups ice cubes, handful of gummy fish
You will need: measuring cups, mixing bowl, wooden spoon, clear plastic glass or bowl.
Put jello in bowl. Add boiling water and mix with spoon until it dissolves. Add ice cubes. Stir until jello starts to thicken. Pour gelatin into plastic glass or bowl. Poke 3 or 4 fish into jello. Refrigerate about 30 minutes until set.
Enjoy those little chefs. What a sense of accomplishment and pride your child will feel as a "little chef" in the kitchen.