The hashtag #KidsInTheKitchen is one of our all-time favourites. Scrolling through images of kids, from wee little babes all the way up to teenagers, who are getting their hands dirty by cooking and baking at home gives us all the mom-feels.
We are big believers in the idea that kids who are involved in cooking and food preparation at home have a huge head start in developing a lifelong healthy relationship with food. Ensuring kids become happy and adventurous eaters is all about exposure exposure exposure. There is one universal truth in feeding kids…
Kids will eat what they’re exposed to
One way to expose kids is by offering a wide variety of foods at the table, but the opportunity for exposure doesn’t stop there. Getting them involved in the process of making grocery lists, going shopping, doing meal prep and cooking all count as new exposures too.
When it comes to cooking we’re often asked, “At what age can they start?” Our answer, without question, is “It’s never too soon.”
What Kids Can Master – By Age & Stage
From infancy, babes can join you in the kitchen in a wrap or carrier, on a playmat, or in their high chair. Having the sights and smells of cooking and food prep become a part of their everyday life early on, is an important introductory step. When they’re old enough to grasp toys, shake them and start banging them together, there’s really nothing better (or cheaper!) than loading their play space with wooden spoons, measuring cups and if you’re brave, pot lids.
During the toddler years, kids will start to hone their fine motor skills. Stirring, whisking, rolling, sprinkling and yes, even cutting (with a plastic knife) are all appropriate activities for toddlers.
As kids learn to talk and reason, they will start refining their communication skills and early math skills when they use tools like measuring spoons and cups.
When they get a bit older, teaching children basic knife skills and fire safety skills will give them self-confidence and autonomy in the kitchen. The beauty of having your 5-year-old make their own PB&J while your two-year-old is throwing a massive tantrum over the colour of the cup you’ve given them, cannot be overstated.
By the time they reach their teenage years, you can be confident knowing that your kids will have the knowledge and skill set to feed themselves. And since we know that cooking your own meals at home is one of the best ways to improve healthful eating practices, you’ll be giving your child a headstart for a life of healthy living.
No-Bake Oatmeal, Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Balls
This simple, easy recipe for No-Bake Oatmeal, Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chip Energy Balls is the perfect starter for kids of any age. Because they’re no-bake, no need to worry about a hot stove. All the ingredients can be sampled safely while you’re preparing them and as an added bonus, the recipe is so flexible that exact measurement doesn’t really matter.