I’m really delighted to introduce Halina from The Cherry Farm who has popped over here to do a guestpost in conjunction with a giveaway for a place on her e-Course, starting on the 3rd of February 2014:
I’ve been a long time fan of this beautiful, gentle blog filled with gorgeous photos and wonderful ideas. The e-course promises to be an absolute treat, and we have one free place to giveaway on this blog!! Thanks Halina 🙂
You have many ways to be in with a chance to win:
-like and share this post on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest etc….
…and make sure to tell me so I can add your name as many times into the draw!
So, over to Halina…
Including Young Children in the Kitchen
Cooking and baking with young children can be so rewarding for both children and adults.
Some days you might prefer to just get the dinner done quickly and don’t want the extra work and time that it takes to include your children. I have those days and that’s totally fine.
By always rushing through the process, however, you miss out on a wonderful opportunity to work and learn together, to share one of the most important tasks in a family: preparing nourishment for bodies, souls and senses.
Your children learn about healthy food along the way and might appreciate dinner much more if they are part of the process.
We always teach children important fine motor skills through various toys and gadgets although they could learn most of them by just helping you in the kitchen (and otherwise around the house).
Pouring, stirring and kneading are great activities for little hands. Yes, there will be messes and a bit of waste. But is it really a waste if your children learn early on how to feed themselves with good homemade food?!
Messes can be cleaned up together. Let your toddler wash the bowls or wipe the counter tops with a cloth (there are those motor skills again!) while you take two minutes to put everything away and clean up the bigger messes. Your child won’t only get better at working without making spilling everything – you will also get much faster at giving them little jobs that keep them busy while you do the things that you want to do without “help”.
So what else could little ones do to help you?
- As soon as they can stand up they can help you wash the vegetables in a bowl and hand them to you as you need them.
- Another task for little hands could be peeling the dry skin off an onion or garlic cloves. They could also use a peeler to take the skin off carrots, courgettes, parsnips, potatoes…in the beginning that might result in peeling away the whole vegetable but they’ll get the hang of it eventually.
- I always left my children handle knives (under close supervision) from an early age but that’s a very individual decision. We have a small red knife which they can use to cut soft vegetable like mushrooms.
- If you feel comfortable with it you could let them grate cheese for you. Just tell them about the dangers but also show them your confidence that they can learn to handle these tools. Your kids will learn fast and be proud to be such a great help.
- Kids can butter their own bread, cut cheese, wash grapes, crack eggs into a bowl, etc.
There really isn’t much they can’t do if you help them a little and show them how to do it.
Provide the following ingredients in bowls, along with an empty bowl and a wooden spoon:
- one cup of white flour (combined with 1 teaspoon baking powder)
- one cup of wholemeal spelt flour
- ½ cup of sugar (or less)
- one egg
- 1 to 2 ripe bananas
- ¼ cup coconut oil
This activity is about fostering independence and confidence, so it helps to let go of perfectionism. Fortunately it is not important to thoroughly mix the ingredients so it’s a brilliant beginner’s recipe for a child.
Having fun in the kitchen and preparing healthy foods together is one of the best foundations you can give your child for a long and healthy life.
(This is a little excerpt from week 3 of my e-course “Creating Magical Days with your 2 to 4 year old”.)