Does your child love to help in the kitchen? Want to get her involved but aren’t sure how? Use these cooking skills as the focus for your next kitchen session with your child.
Before your child does anything in the kitchen, she needs to learn the basics of kitchen safety. Discuss the use of the stove and the potential for burns. If you decide your child is old enough to use the stove supervised, discuss how to properly handle pans on the stove. Safety around sharp objects, such as knives, blender blades and mandolin cutters, is another important area to teach. Show your child the proper way to cut with sharp knives if she is old enough to use them. Stress the importance of adult supervision any time the child cooks.
Once your child is old enough to read, you can teach her how to read recipes. Point out the ingredients section and the directions. Discuss the need to read the recipe first before you start so you don’t miss any directions.
Use time in the kitchen as a way to sharpen your child’s measurement skills. Compare the different measuring cups and measuring spoons to see the size progression. Help your child identify the markings on the cups and spoons compared to the measurements in the recipe.
For older kids, cooking is a great way to learn about adding fractions. If a recipe calls for 2/3 cup of an ingredient, for example, your child figures out that she needs to use the 1/3 measuring cup twice to get the right amount.
Recipes often call for different techniques to combine ingredients, such as whisking, mixing with a spoon or using a hand mixer. Teach your child the differences and how to use each different type of mixing tool. If you allow your child to use a hand mixer, remind her to never reach near the beaters when the machine is moving. Always stay close to your child when she uses the tool.
Don’t forget to teach your child the skill of cleaning up her own messes. Cooking is a great time to get your child in the habit of cleaning up after herself. Don’t let her just participate in the fun parts of cooking.