Tips and Tricks Tuesdays: Kids Need to Learn Cooking Skills

Kids Need to Learn Cooking Skills

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It is more difficult and time consuming to let your kids help you in the kitchen. But studies show, if they do, they are more likely to eat healthier, and when they leave home they will prepare healthier meals for their own families. And the cycle of health continues. I was reading in the paper a few years ago, our generation (today’s mom’s and dad’s) do not know the basic steps of cooking. That we complain we have no time to be in the kitchen to make food for our families, yet we spend an average of 4 hours in front of the TV a day. So, let’s get back into the kitchen with our kids! I promise,they will not only learn vital skills, but you’ll be preparing them for life when they aren’t under your roof any more!

OK, so what are the kitchen I’m teaching or planning to teach by age?

Babies
Basic table manners: sitting quietly, prayer time, learning how to use a sippy cup and utensils, waiting for their turn without screaming.

Toddlers
More basic table manners: Saying Please and Thank You, carefully passing condiments & lighter weight plates/bowls, using a napkin, etc.

Beginning Table Chores – I usually start with wiping down chairs and cleaning up anything that has dropped on the floor.

Preschool

Begin assisting in food prep – I love the kid-friendly knives for this purpose.

More food prep like stirring and mixing, using cookie cutters, etc.

Beginning of helping to set table

Helping put away groceries (learning where things go in the kitchen)

Ages 5-7
More food prep, but still nothing that might burn them (ie griddle, stovetop, etc). Basically anything they can pitch in with that doesn’t involve outright cooking, I try to include them.

Beginning measurements, Mostly 1 cup, 1 TBSP, 1 tsp, and leveling ingredients.

How to make coffee, hot chocolate and tea with tepid water.

Easy snacks – things like Ants on a Log, cheese and crackers, buttered bread, etc.

Ages 8-10
Here’s where I really start investing more time in their cooking skills.

How to read a recipe.

Learning to add ingredients by themselves and mix completely.

Learning to use a hot griddle (we usually start with something like quesadillas or pancakes).

Putting away dishes from dishwasher (by this age, I expect them to know where everything goes in the kitchen, so they know where to find something when they need it).

More measurements – 1/4 cup, 3/4 cup, 2/3 cup, etc.

Beginning to make simple meals like Taco Salad or sandwiches.

Learning what it takes to keep a kitchen clean.

Learning basic kitchen safety – garbage disposal, how to use hot pads, fire safety.

Ages 11-13
Cooking without my supervision.

Learning to double and half a recipe.

Learning how to use a stovetop and oven.

Learning how to cook and clean various pans (we use cast iron and stainless steel).

How to load a dishwasher.

Learning how to put away leftovers, as well as basic food safety.

Learning how to clean out a refrigerator/freezer and oven.

Beginning baking – I like to start with my Pizza Dough recipe.

Ages 14 & up
Time to let them fly!

Complete meal planning & cooking.

Budgeting and understanding the cost of food and how to get the best deal.

Bulk purchasing & storage.

Serving others with food (ie taking meals to others, hospitality, etc).

Carving meats and other more difficult knife skills.

Grilling

More “technical” cooking – broiling, basting, steaming, using a double boiler, etc.

Mastering baking.

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