Preparing Food with your Children
Once children have learned to read and understand instructions, it may be time for them to own their own cookbooks. When purchasing Childrens Cookbooks look for those that contain clear, concise, and simple directions and are well-illustrated. Look for books that are written for children in a respectful way. In other words, don’t look for books that are outstandingly childish and patronizing. Purchase books that contain useful information and recipes that will actually be used by your family.
When you do undertake to make a recipe with your child you should plan on setting aside up to one hour of time as your supervision, and probably your assistance, will definitely be needed. However, the pleasure and the sense of accomplishment that the child will get out of such an activity will be well worth your time, and incidentally, the pleasure that you get out of it will be priceless!
Child-geared recipes are great activities for rainy days. One of my favorite rainy day activities as a child and as a mother with my children was to make cut-out cookies. If you don’t have the time or the inclination to make rolled and cut cookies, you can help your children to make ‘Mix and Match’ Oatmeal Cookies. These cookies can be made by one child, two children or groups of up to five.
Mix and Mash’ Cookies are made by placing all the ingredients for oatmeal cookies in a very large [amazon ASIN=B003TYJYGA]unbreakable mixing bowl[/amazon]. The child or children are allowed to mash, knead and squeeze the ingredients until all their excess energy is gone, and they feel very good, or until all the ingredients are well-mixed, and the children are too tired to continue. (This recipe doesn’t necessarily teach technique, but it is a good starter recipe for small children and allows them to use up their excess energy!)
A good place to make ‘Mix and Mash’ Cookies is out in the back yard if it is a nice day but on a rainy day, just cover the kitchen floor with an inexpensive plastic drop cloth, or old newspapers which can be folded up and thrown away when done with. When the children are finished with the ‘Mix and Mash’ effort, they can then be allowed to shape the cookies and place them on the cookie sheets and Mommy or another adult can help the children to bake the cookies. The oatmeal cookies will keep well in an airtight container if there are any left over after the eating session which follows the cookie baking.
Other things which children can be allowed to help prepare are French toast, Peanut Butter Sandwiches, Chocolate dipped Bananas or other types of fruit such as strawberries. Children can also help to make grilled cheese sandwiches, cake mix cookies, refrigerator biscuit bread sticks, or pretzels and or cinnamon rolls. Egg Salad, Ice Cream or English Muffin Pizzas are also perfect items for children to make.
Do take the time however little it may be to work with your child in the kitchen. The pleasure of accomplishment will be felt by both the parent and child. And to help your child succeed, don’t forget the child-sized equipment that will make the tasks easier for your child.