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The Benefits of Letting Your Children Help in the Kitchen

Aug 20, 2008
Cooking with your children isn't only fun and rewarding, it is educational for your children and can help 'faddy' eaters to try more foods. Cooking also seems to be a skill that is not taught in schools any more and many young people leave home without knowing basic cooking skills. Teach children's cooking from an early age and your children will appreciate it in the future.

Children's cooking can be dangerous and can lead to arguments and stress if not planned properly and supervised well. Here are some top tips for children's cooking and baking:-

Preparation Tips:-

1. Pick a recipe together and make sure it's nice and simple. Search online for basic children's cooking and baking recipes.

2. Read the recipe through together and figure out what ingredients and utensils you will need.

3. Clear the workspace or table and get out all of the ingredients, utensils and things like scales and mixers.

4. Wash hands in hot water with soap before starting, and teach your children about hygiene.

5. Run some hot soapy water into a washing up bowl so that you and the children can toss used utensils into it to soak.

6. Weigh out each ingredient and set aside ready to use at the appropriate time.


1. Supervise children when chopping or cutting foods.

2. Use sharp knives and the correct knife for the task.

3. Use a chopping board to protect surfaces.

4. Show children how to cut with their fingers tucked away, or use a fork to hold the food still while cutting.

5. Wash sharp knives immediately or put in the dishwasher. Don't toss sharp knives into the washing up bowl, you or your children might forget they are there and cut your fingers while washing up.

Kitchen Safety

1. Have kitchen rules - For example, no running in the kitchen, mopping up spillages straight away and drying the floor, always washing your hands before cooking etc.

2. Put pans to the back of the hob and if you need to use the front rings, make sure that pan handles don't stick out.

3. Don't let children put things in the oven or take them out. Let your children watch you as you wear oven gloves.

4. Keep your hands dry and don't use electrical equipment or sockets with damp hands.

5. Take care when frying foods with children because hot oil can spit.

6. Teach children not to get to close to the hob or to touch rings, even when they are off.

7. Keep a fire blanket, fire extinguisher and first aid kit in the kitchen.

8. Teach children the importance of using separate or clean chopping boards for raw meat and other foods.

9. Teach children to wash their hands after handling raw meat.

There are some basic cooking skills that are important to teach your children, for use in the future, as well as hygiene and safety rules. Here are some skills to incorporate into your children's cooking and baking sessions:-

1. Pastry making - make different types of pastry with your children and enjoy making pies, turn overs, blind baking pastry cases and making jam tarts etc.

2. The rubbing-in method - Teach children to use the rubbing-in method for pastry making, baking and crumbles.

3. Creaming - Make cakes and show them how to cream the butter and sugar until pale.

4. Folding - Folding flour into a cake mixture in a figure of eight movement is vital to keep the air in the mixture, show children how to do it.

5. Whisking and beating - Show children how to use a hand whisk and an electric one to whisk cream and cake mixes.

6. Chopping and dicing - Show children how to chop an onion in different ways - slicing or chopping finely, and show them how to dice vegetables.

7. Peeling - Teach your children how to use a peeler for peeling potatoes, carrots and fruit.

8. Grating - Let children grate cheese and use a finer grater to grate lemon rind.

9. Mashing - Let children mash boiled potatoes with margarine, milk and a masher.

10. Squeezing - Let children squeeze the juice from oranges and lemons.

11. Kneading - Make bread with your children and have fun kneading the dough.

12. Rolling out - Roll out pastry or cookie dough with a rolling pin and use cookie cutters to make funny shaped cookies.

13. Greasing and lining - Show them how to grease and line cake tins with fat and greaseproof paper.

14. How to use utensils and equipment - Let children use scales, whisks, sieves, knives, blenders and food processors with supervision.

15. Have fun - Most importantly, make children's cooking and baking fun, and cook and bake a variety of foods and dishes.
About the Author
Derrek Lewek is a keen amateur chef, who works for the Brenda Oakes Discount Kitchenware web site. Here you can buy brand name cookware and kitchen appliances at very low prices. Whether you are looking for Le Creuset Cast Iron Pans or a just a kitchen knife, you can find a top quality cookware product at a discount price.
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