Inspiring a love for cooking from an early age isn’t difficult, but it does require parents to slow down so that younger members of the family can participate. When children are included in adult tasks, they grow up to be more accountable and empowered in their own lives. Long-term benefits aside, cooking and baking together is a deeply bonding experience. Here are four fun ways to get started:

Safety First With Good Cookware

Acquiring the best cookware isn’t only going to make your time in the kitchen easier and more enjoyable, but it’s also going to make the potentially dangerous task safer. Induction cookware ensures that while you are not cooking, there is no heat source burning away like a beacon to young, inquisitive fingers. 

Quality cookware can also make it easier for small hands to perform tricky tasks, like icing cupcakes or mincing garlic. You can give children a sense of ownership of their space in the kitchen by getting a smaller set of tools specifically for little hands. It’s far more fun to stir and mix when you have your own little set of bowls and spoons.

Shopping And Gardening

Eating and enjoying food is a long process that starts with gathering the ingredients. Whether you have a vegetable garden or purchase all of your kitchen ingredients from a store, involve the children in the first stages of acquiring food

Ask for help choosing the ripest tomatoes, and teach children how to look for the greenest and freshest basil leaves. Make it a team effort so the children have ownership of the family’s food decisions. This will give them a feeling of investment in the outcome of the final dish. Participation and fun are key elements in manifesting enthusiasm.

Shelling Peas And Keeping Life Simple

The old saying goes, “the problem with the world today is that no one shells peas with grandma anymore.” We’ve swapped tradition for convenience, and while there’s something to be said for a quick and easy meal, children also need to learn patience and dedication. Taking part in the slow and boring aspects of food preparation can help foster these positive qualities in them. 

Time-consuming food prep can also be immensely bonding. Place a clean bowl of water outside with vegetables and let the little ones wash them. Grating carrots, mincing garlic, chopping herbs, kneading dough, and stirring are easy for small hands to manage. Remember to praise the effort, not the outcome, if you really want to spark enthusiasm for cooking.

Baking – The Sweeter Side 

Baking is one of the most rewarding activities because the results are delicious. Start by baking bread because it’s easy and wholesome. Plus, bread is the perfect side dish with a heartwarming soup or stew. Cupcakes have lots of room for fun – get decorating and get messy! 

One of the most important mindsets to try and embrace when you are baking with kids is to prepare for a mess. The sensory aspects play an important role in the discovery, even for older children. Let them taste, lick the bowl when it’s empty, and get messy. Working with icing is always enjoyable for little ones, especially when you add sprinkles and decorations. 

Children who are involved in cooking and food preparation are more likely to be self-sufficient adults. They are also more secure in their positions in the family because they feel included. Start slowly with easy recipes, and before you know it, your children will manage complex tasks with ease. 

Cover Image credit: Unsplash Hannah Tasker