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The Many Benefits of Cooking With Children

We teamed up with Steph from @thekiddiekitchen to bring you a blog detailing the benefits of getting your little ones in the kitchen! This blog includes a free downloadable recipe for some healthy cookies.

"From early childhood, the kitchen can be such a magical and important place in a child’s heart; children, by nature, are intrigued by the goings on in the kitchen and the benefits of getting them involved in cooking are endless! From learning about different foods, to developing their fine motor skills, cooking is a fantastic skill to learn and one that will set them up for life.

 My name is Steph, I manage a family friendly food page over on Instagram @thekiddiekitchen and I am absolutely blessed with my 22 month old daughter, Rosie. Rosie is like many toddlers full of energy and desperate to learn, and one of her favourite things to do is to get involved in cooking.

 I’m a huge advocate of the #antiscreenrevolution campaign from Jaques of London and thus I’ve tried to include Rosie in the kitchen from an early age; whether it was having her next to me and chatting her through the actions when baking, exploring the colours and textures of the ingredients or asking her to take some vegetables out of the fridge. Personally, I love the experience of making something together. Yes, it can get a little messy (there have been instances of batter on the ceiling and up the walls!) but it’s all usually very easy to tidy up and Rosie usually enjoys the cleaning aspect of the activity too; wiping down the counters or floor and putting the ‘dirty’ pieces in the bin. Each instruction she follows is mastering a new skill and she has come such a long way since she first started “helping”.

 One of the greatest things about the kitchen is that it’s an easy and neutral environment to encourage your child’s self confidence and sense of self worth by celebrating their achievements and helping them learn to take pride in their work; something that is essential for future roles within schooling and, even later on, within employment. Rosie especially enjoys clapping and shouting “hooray” when cookies or cake are removed from the oven, and she reacts really well to praise throughout the baking exercises.

 One of the most surprising things I’ve found is when we are preparing fruit or vegetables together she is very interested in exploring them and very often curious about their flavour which ends in her tasting almost everything. However if offering her those foods on a plate at meal times she may refuse them, so it just goes to show that different environments/activities are an important part of learning to enjoy foods too!

  When first introducing children to cooking/baking, it can be a little overwhelming as to where to begin. It’s interesting how many tasks that they can get involved in with a little supervision and I’ve put together a list of things you can assist your child to complete from as young as 18 months:

  •  Pour dry and wet ingredients into a bowl
  • Transfer vegetables to and from the fridge
  • Transfer foods to cold pans (pasta, chopped fruit and vegetables)
  • Use cookie cutters
  • Mash ingredients
  • Sprinkle herbs or toppings
  • Mix batter/ingredients
  • Wash fruits and vegetables
  • Pick fresh herbs
  • Brush milk or butter onto pastry or other foods
  • Put items in the bin or dedicated waste bowl
  • Cleaning up their work area

 One of the easiest recipes I make with Rosie is that of banana oat cookies. All ingredients are able to be tasted when raw and therefore perfect for babies and toddlers still mouthing. They contain no refined sugar but are super tasty, suitable from 6 months old and can be kept in the fridge for up to three days. Clean up and cook time are both very short which makes everything that little bit easier. You can download the recipe here."

We LOVE Steph's article about the benefits of cooking for kids! Time away from the screen is crucial for childhood development and activities, such as this, are perfect for enticing your children away from their screens! Check out our range of wooden toys and garden games

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