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Teaching Kids How to Cook and More

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 How many of us wish our kids would stop playing with food and just EAT it!!! One of the easiest ways to get kids interested in food is to start at the basics… in your kitchen garden, or your kitchen! Kids LOVE to play around in the kitchen….in fact when children get involved in measuring, counting, weighing, freezing, peeling, stirring and oh so much more, they automatically learn maths, science, art, and even aesthetics & motor skills!
1.Comprehension: Children will pour patiently over the recipe book, and enjoy the pictures & instructions.
2.Math: Counting, measuring, weighing etc.
3.Science: Children can see how food transforms and passes through different stages. They learn about hot and cold, floating and sinking, dissolving, melting, and freezing.
4.Nutrition: What goes into food and how it is made helps children realise what is healthy or junk food.
5.Cultures: Today kids are exposed to everything from idlis & pav bhaji to noodles & pizza! Ever thought how much we can teach the kids ;-)
6.Social skills: Children work with mom, or friends to take turns and solve problems together.
One of the benefits of letting kids take charge in a cooking operation is the boost of confidence they get.
Helping them learn…
Children learn in the kitchen with all their senses – touch, smell, sight, taste and by hearing. Even a 3 year old is capable of enjoying and learning in the kitchen ☺
Ruchi Bhatnagar-Mathur and Nafisa Riz, with students & their creations!

Photo courtesy: Nafisa Riz, Ruchi Bhatnagar-Mathur
3 year olds are enjoying using their motor skills, and will love doing these:
• washing veggies & fruits, pulling out grapes
• helping add ingredients into a batter, or mix in a big bowl with hands.
• stirring with a large spoon.
• counting vegetables or fistfuls of pulses/ rice.
• kneading dough – very messy and very fun ☺
• Decorating cakes/ garnishing finished dishes with sprinkles, gems, herbs, cheese etc.
4 -5 year olds can do a bit more complicated stuff:
• Help find simple things in the kitchen, lay the table
• Mash potatoes, bananas, tear leaves.
• taking out ingredients and measuring with a bowl or scooping
• Shaking for a milkshake/ beating eggs.
6-8 year olds can do a bit more complicated stuff:
• Help read recipes ☺
• Measure, pour, stir and mash.
• Try and break eggs, knead dough in the initial phase, use a rolling pin, greasing cakes tins etc.
• Help do the unbreakable dishes
It’s actually so much fun… my 6 year old son loves to roll out baby rotis for me and he makes such an effort that they turn out delicious everytime – he even uses a cookie cutter to shape them up!
Get into the action but hey, take care! 
• Clean hands, cut nails and a big smile … very important in the kitchen!
• Simple and concise instructions will help, and repeat important words often enough.
• Lots of napkins, towels and aprons should be around to take care of spills and accidents.
• Children should be in the kitchen ONLY with adults. Do keep them away from flames & sharp knives/ forks.
• Always involve them in clearing up with whatever they can help. They’ll do it easy to partake in the food they have helped make ☺
There you have it! 
Not only can you spend quality time in a constructive way with your child, but your child also starts seeing the effort that you put into making meals each day. And you get to make him realise what a great help he is! The kitchen may end up messier, the food may be slightly late & imperfect, but the joy while making it and the pride with which your child will eat it with you will be unforgettable… so get your aprons on, bring out the old & easy recipes, and delight your child in the magical and educative world of cooking.
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