Whether it is cooking or baking, preparing food together is a fun and interactive activity for the whole family. I remember the excitement in the children’s eyes every time we made whether it were muffins, pancakes or stone soup in StrongStart. They were eagerly waiting to eat the foods that they made. And they always seem to taste better.
Some of the benefits of cooking or baking with children are building connections and learning social responsibilities such as learning where foods come from, and promoting healthy eating habits. Children are more willing to try new food if they are involved in the preparation process. Lots of learning are happening for children during cooking and baking. For example, language development – talk about what you are doing, reading recipes out loud, science – use all the senses to observe the textures and what happens to the ingredients when they are mixed together, math – measurements and counting, fine and gross motor skills and more. You can also make substitutions or add more healthy ingredients to your cooking and baking.
Here are some tips for having fun and staying safe while your’re cooking with kids.
- Before you start, talk about safety rules such as food safety, hand hygiene, what is hot, what is sharp, what to touch and not to touch and TALK (running commentary) about what you are doing.
- Make sure the working surface area is clean and accessible
- Make sure all the ingredients are readily available
- Choose the right time – choose a time when everyone is well rested and not easily frustrated.
- If you are using a recipe, prop it up so that you can read it without touching it.
- Choose the right task – the type of cooking and baking will depend on the age and development of your child. For younger children, you might consider making a salad together, or baking with simple recipes. For older children, they can cut up vegetables (celery, mushrooms) with a butter knife or stir tomato sauce over low heat.
- Relax – it is ok the measurements are not exact, or the cut pieces are not the same size, or there are eggshells in the bowl. Turn the experience into a game, ask if they want to eat the small piece or the big piece, do they taste differently, does the small one taste better or the big one, or who can find the eggshell in the muffins.
- Remember to give compliments that they have done a good job.
Here are some of recipes that are suggested by some StrongStart families:
Carrot muffins (Recipe provided by Ayumi Sugita)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup grated carrots
1/4 cup oil (coconut oil or butter)
1/2 cup milk (soy milk for vegan)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1/4 brown sugar
All mix in one bowl
Spray or grease a mini muffin pan
Fill the pan and bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees F.
Basic Batter (Recipe Provided by Jen Wu)
Once you have made the basic batter, you can add anything to it and make different variations (ie: Strawberries, bananas, chocolate chips, raisins, blueberries, bananas, raspberries, apples)
2 cups flour (250 g)
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups milk (355 mL) (can use dairy or non-diary milks)
2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
2 tablespoons butter, melted (can also sub with oil)
Some fruit, chocolate chips, raisins, etc…
Pan Cakes (Provided by Marilyn)
1 cup self-raising flour
1/4 cup caster sugar
1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
3/4 cup milk, approximately
1 teaspoon white vinegar
15 g butter (melted)
Mix dry ingredients in one bowl and wet ingredients in another. Combine all ingredients and mix until smooth. Then cook it it a frying pan or griddle.