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Niche Topics (Pregnancy and Kids) is all about practical parenting advice and parenting
skills to help you deal with common parenting challenges from toddlerhood to teen
years. You’ll find tons of healthy food ideas and easy-to-make kids meals, fun activity
ideas and creative crafts projects that kids love to do and play!
One of my earliest and sweetest memories of my childhood is cooking with my grandmother.
It was grandmother who ignited my passion for cooking and baking. I remembered those
whimsical adventures in the kitchen, stirring, mixing, squashing, kneading, rolling,
scooping... It was so much fun!
The thought of cooking with children may not be appealing to many parents as it is
not something you look forward to when you are tired, children screaming behind and
the whole family is hungry. But cooking with children is not a daunting task. It
is a golden opportunity which open up a world of imagination and creativity to young
minds as well as a good way to build confidence.
Cooking is also an ideal way to foster sibling bonding among your children, nurture
their appreciation for wholesome foods, imparting a basic life time survival skill
and the best deal of all, pass down family traditions and heritage by sharing recipes.
The list below reinforces the benefits of cooking with children and you will be amazed
at what young chefs can do.
1. Develops motor skills such as hand eye coordination and manual dexterity:
My children enjoy cooking with me from a young age. They are experts at mushing,
banging and ripping. At 2 years old, they are learning to use large muscles in their
arms so I let them scrub produce and tear greens.
To master hand control, I allow them mix batter, spread soft butter with a plastic
knife and bread dough. At the same time, they are also building sensory skills through
tasting, hearing, feeling, smelling and seeing different foods.
When children are 4 to 5 years old, they are learning more refined hand and finger
co-ordination. At this age, you can introduce manual kitchen gadgets like juicers
and egg beaters.
At an older age about 6 to 10 years old, children can do more intricate tasks such
as cracking eggs and decorating a cake. However, keep in mind never to include sharp
2. Builds a foundation for healthy habits:
If you have a picky eater at home, get your child involved in the kitchen to motivate
them. Children will eagerly eat food they have prepared themselves and take immense
pride in watching others enjoying and appreciating their food – it is a boost to
their confidence and self esteem.
In addition, families who cook and eat together tend to have better nutrition and
less likely to make unhealthy fast food choices. Teach all about food nutrition and
inspire children to put down junk food.
3. Acquire organizational and mathematical skills:
Use the cooking as an educational tool to build and hone skills such as counting,
measuring, weighing, tracking time and fractions, and following recipe directions.
Children can practice these skills in fun way without realising it.
4. Learn about hygiene, encourage responsibility and teamwork: I make use of this
golden opportunity to educate my daughters on proper food handling and personal hygiene.
I get them to participate in cleanup by assigning specific and manageable duties
after cooking. It is a great way to instill a sense of responsibility from young.
Like I said, cooking with children is a great time for spending quality time together,
it may take an extra bit of patience but you know it is all worthwhile when you see
happy and proud faces!
Perhaps you can start your first cooking experience with your children this summer
holiday? Don’t forget to take out that camera!