Tuesday, June 29, 2010

10 Reasons to Cook Together

Summer is a great time to get kids involved in menu planning, shopping and preparation. You want to start out when you have plenty of time. When you are under stress is not the time to teach children new skills. . Cooking together is a great way to spend some quality family time. It is also a fun way to sneak in a little education without them knowing.
1. It is a great way to spend some time together. Get the whole family involved in the preparation. Pick "jobs" appropriate for their age, a 3 year old might stir or add ingredients, a 5 year old can write items on the grocery list, a 7 year old may read the recipe aloud , and a 10 year old may chop or dice. It make take more time but the lessons learned are invaluable.

2. It's fun to watch children discover new foods. They may gravitate toward chicken nuggets and french fries right now, but there's a whole world of tastes just waiting for them to discover. Each week while you are grocery shopping encourage the kids to pick out a new food to try. Children are more likely to try new things when they helped prepare it. The choices might not all be winners, but you may discover a new family favorite. 

3.  Learning to cook helps kids to learn about nutrition. Healthy eating begins at home. They are growing up with fast food and junk food at their fingertips. Kids aren't getting much encouragement to eat their veggies. It's up to you to show them how yummy healthy treats can taste.

4.  Kids learn real lessons in science, language, math and social studies. Cooking will help reinforce all these subjects!   Cooking teaches them planning and making choices.

5. Boost their self esteem. They will be thrilled when everyone raves over the new dish on the table and that they helped with the meal. They are accomplishing a task, learning something important and contributing to the family. They may even start experimenting more and start preparing their own food.

6.  Teaching kids to cook will help instill skills that last a lifetime.  One day they're going to grow up and be responsible for themselves. While all the other kids in their dorm are ordering pizza, your kid will be whipping up a healthy meal. Well, we can dream.

7. They can help contribute to the family and they can feel the importance of
helping.  Even if they've just stirred the pot or washed the veggies. They are learning teamwork and to understand the importance of their role as a member of the family.

8. Practice creativity and imagination. Kids cooking activities are a great way to express themselves and enjoy their creations.

9.  It is a great way to create family traditions and pass on family history.   They might even pass it on to their own kids someday.  So much of our family culture and identity is tied to food traditions.  Don't you want your kids to learn how to make Grandma's famous carrot cake?

10.  The memories we create with our children our priceless.

Ideas from Kids Cook

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