It’s not just healthy eating that’s important for children – having fun and getting them involved in the cooking is just as vital in helping them learn to live a healthy lifestyle. Cooking with your kids is a great way to teach them about healthy foods and encourage them to try new tastes; it can even improve their literacy and maths skills too. Best of all, its loads of fun! Here’s Tilli’s seven-step guide on how to cook with your kids to help their minds, and bodies, grow.
1) Let them choose
Like many other kids, Charlie the crocodile thinks it’s much more fun to cook and eat when he’s chosen the dish. So start from the very beginning – sit down, look through Tilli’s recipes and let your little one take their pick of what to cook together . Then go through the ingredients and ask them to help you write the shopping list. It’s a great learning process that will improve planning and literacy skills.
2) Take them shopping
After you’ve written your shopping list, take your little ones to the supermarket. Rupert the monkey loves to go shopping. It helps him learn about the health and nutritional benefits of different foods and so will your kids. While shopping pick the colours of the peppers, count the tomatoes and touch and feel the various items. Rupert finds searching for items, especially things that are fun shapes really exciting and loves to cook with them. .
3) Make it safe, make it fun
Like most kids, Jasmine the tiger doesn’t realise the dangers of a kitchen – from hot ovens, to sharp knives and slippy, wet floors. Before you start your cooking adventure, make sure you explain about safety in the kitchen and have a few rules. It may sound strict, but it’s vital to stay safe. And if you’re in control you’ll all enjoy the experience much more. Jasmine likes to grate carrots, but knows that mum has to help.
4) Count and compare
When you get to the actual cooking stage, encourage your kids to do the measuring and weighing. Lottie the parrot and her friends love to learn, so let the kids look at the numbers, count and compare. Doing this motivates them to use and improve their numerical skills.
5) Let them pour and stir
Cooking and preparation helps with literacy and numerical abilities, it can improve children’s motor skills too, especially in those of preschool age. When kids, like Tilli’s friends, help with pouring and stirring they use and improve their motor skills. And the more kids use these, the better they get. Chopping is also great for motor skills, but for little kids like Lottie the Parrot it’s too dangerous, so leave this for the older ones.
6) Time for tidying
After you’ve finished all the preparation and the mini cooks have done their best at pouring and stirring, it’s time to clean up the mess. Tilli’s little animal friends love to help out and, like many other kids, they enjoy learning about health, hygiene and keeping a tidy home. Get your little ones to help you with the washing up, drying and tidying away – they’ll enjoy the sense of achievement.
7) Ta da!
Finally, let your kids set the table and serve the food. While eating, praise them for their culinary efforts as this will motivate them and encourage them to cook with you again.
Tilli and friends hope you have heaps of fun cooking with your kids. For inspiration, visit our Kids’ Recipe pages.