Holiday time is here and that means the kids are off school and possibly getting a little bored. If they want to help you in the kitchen, don’t turn them away. Jump at the chance! After all, who doesn’t need an extra pair of hands when you’re busy brainstorming dinner recipes, wondering whether your fussy toddler will eat cauliflower and trying to calculate exactly how long that homemade pie is going to take to cook?
Of course, you can’t welcome their help and then tell them to get cracking with preparing the lasagne from scratch if they’ve never cooked before. So here’s how to keep your kids both busy and productive in the kitchen. The kids have fun and you get to catch a break for a change. Everyone wins!
Start with baking
Baking cupcakes, muffins or even bread can be great fun for kids. There’s nothing too sharp or dangerous involved, so nobody is likely to get hurt. Yes, it can be a bit messy, but the beauty of baking bread or cake is that you can tailor it to suit their ages. Got a tiny tot? Use the easy recipes that come with a readymade mix and get them to stir, pour in milk and of course…lick the bowl? Older kids and teenagers can follow more complex recipes and might enjoy learning to bake homemade bread and customising it – they could add olives, sundried tomatoes, herbs or whatever else they fancy.
Then move on to soup
Soup is one of those things that everybody loves, and it’s super easy to make. Somehow though, even a lot of adults are unaware of how to make their own soup. The best thing about soup is that they’re cheap and can be made out of virtually any vegetables, even the slightly limp leftover ones from your fridge! There are loads of soup recipes for dinner, ranging from hearty chowders through to Asian noodle soups. Not only is basic soup-making a great skill for kids to learn for those days when they’re hungry and need to throw something together, but you can even serve their soup as a starter at dinner. They’ll love that they’ve managed to make a course all on their own. Remember though that younger children should be helped with chopping and frying. If you struggle to get the flavour really good and strong, try adding a packet of Knorr soup. They come in loads of varieties so you can choose one to match the soup you’re making. You’ll still have all the homemade goodness and nutrition, but they’re an amazing way to up the taste factor and make it seem like the fancy (and expensive) soup out of a can.
Finally, give them a special job
Perhaps today isn’t a baking or soup day. Understandable! Let your kids help you by giving them each a designated kitchen task appropriate for their age. One can chop vegetables, one can be in charge of watching and checking the chicken as it fries. Be imaginative and try not to stress out and micromanage too much. It should be a fun experience for everyone!