Children in the kitchen: 9 rules for cooking together

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Let’s be honest, we are usually not happy when children are in charge of the kitchen. Burnt omelet and escaped milk do not seem to us a worthy reward for general cleaning with elements of repair, which remains for dessert. And then the kitchen is dangerous!

Adults have a lot more fears than children. Meanwhile, there are several simple rules, observing which, you will love spending time together in the kitchen. So, we cook with the children.

Charlotte Christian Photography

At what age to teach a child to cook?
The ideal age is 5-10 years: the child wants to show independence and can already prepare, if not the whole dish, then at least part of it. Younger kids will need more attention, and older kids can do it without you.

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1. Select a recipe
Forget sausage sculpting, egg and green pea faces, and other fine motor skills, no matter how great they look on Instagram. You need to be a professional chef or a Japanese mom who casts bento box every day to cope with dignity. We will treat the products with respect and remember that we cook together with the children.

1. This should be a dish you are familiar with, with your adult hand already stuffed.
2. It is important that cooking does not take more than 30 minutes. Ready-made dough, peeled tomatoes, canned lentils, fruits and dried fruits, vegetables that can be eaten raw will help you. Cooked – ate!
3. So that the result can be tried immediately. Do not cook anything with your children that requires a long cooking time, several hours of simmering in the oven or “overnight in the freezer.”

Barbara brayner

Barbara brayner

► Houzz Step-by-Step Recipes Section – Delicious food from simple dishes

Erashevich studio_Erashevich Alena

2. Make the preparatory rearrangement
In a small room, it is difficult to cook even for three people – you should not arrange a children’s master class for 5 people: it will be cramped and hectic. If you have a 10-12 meter kitchen, slide the table (on which everything will happen) to the center. It is important that the table has free access from different sides.

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3. Call an adult for help
When there are four children, there should be two adults in the kitchen. Not necessarily quite adults, older children will do. There is always someone who does not have time, does not understand, or is ashamed to ask for help – it’s good if there is an opportunity to pay more attention to such a child. And the rest, meanwhile, will also be under supervision.

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4. Wash the food, remove the tools
Measure the required ingredients in advance, wash vegetables and fruits. For baking, for example, accurate numbers are fundamentally important, therefore, before calling the children, weigh and measure everything loose. These are usually the most messy ingredients, so the kitchen will thank you. Prepare everything you need: tools, paper towels, potholders, foil, etc.

Take the bucket out of the cabinet – put it next to it to quickly throw garbage into it.

Brian Sawazaki Photography

5. Talk about safety …
Before you start cooking with your children, introduce them to kitchen appliances and tools. Let them feel the weight of the blender, gently hold the knife, show them how to turn the burners on and off, how to heat the pan and control the heat. Even if the child is not yet able to operate with these objects, he will soberly assess them so as not to wield thoughtlessly.

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Imagine every shovel, slotted spoon, colander you plan to work with. Literally: “Pudding, it’s Alice!”

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… and the rules of conduct
Tell us what games are not worth playing in the kitchen and why a prank can turn into a spoiled mood.

Fumie shibata

6. Read the recipe together
Give the children an idea of ​​exactly how the process will take place: what you will do first, second and third. What foods need to be prepared before turning on the stove or oven.

Fedor Efremov

7. Assign roles
Cooking with children is a lot of fun: agree in advance that one breaks the chocolate, the other rolls out the dough, the third greases the baking sheet, and we wrap the croissants all together.

For the first joint cooking, pizza, hot sandwiches, lasagna from ready-made dough are ideal – everything is multi-layered. And also lobio, salads and fruit desserts, for which you need to cut and mix a lot.

CM Glover

8. Have you prepared? – We sweep the traces
Even a five-year-old can wipe off the table and put the bowls in the dishwasher. Offer him “cover his tracks” so that no one can guess what exactly you were cooking. You shouldn’t avoid or take on this routine. When the child grows up and starts cooking at home, you will not have unpleasant surprises in the kitchen.

Polina Anikeeva

9. Rejoice in good luck
It’s not scary if the cookies came out a little crooked and even if they were frankly crooked or if the dough didn’t rise this time. It is important that you spent 30 minutes with your child in the kitchen, that he listened to you, did as you did, and this time belonged to you. Rest assured – everything has been postponed for him. In due time, he will get your signature recipe from his memory, and from his heart – a warm day with you.

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This is archival material. First published 2016. Updated in 2021

What recipes do you cook at home with your children? Share your favorite dishes in the comments!

About Leona Smith 115 Articles
Hello! My name is Silke and this is my travel blog. I want to show you fascinating places off the beaten track, give you a gentle introduction to history and culture, and help you get around Berlin. After 13 years in Sydney and Andalusia, I now live in Berlin, Germany. I am a travel writer, translator and book author. Read more about me here.

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