Kids love to feel like they are contributing. By allowing them to help with specific tasks in the kitchen they look forward to help prepare such an important part of our day, and bodies; our food and meals. Teaching children how to nourish themselves can never start too early. By focusing your time and tasks in a positive and directive manner, you can not only teach your children but also enjoy your time in the kitchen much more! As mothers we are in the kitchen many hours of the day, so we may as well use the time to teach our kids the importance of healing our bodies with food.
A daily smoothie is a great way to get a quick boost of a variety of your daily needs and nutrients! A good smoothie can include: a base such as almond milk and apple juice, frozen fruit such as mangos or blueberries, power foods such as chia seeds, hemp seeds, moringa, or vita mineral greens. You can have the children measure the ingredients out and put them in the blender. They learn about measuring, daily heath habits, colors, consistency, and self care.
You can get all sorts of juice combinations, be creative! Kids love to put the ingredients in the juicer, just be careful and help them, as the blades are very sharp. Its a great way to get loads of nutrients in, and way more enjoyable for children to drink when they are part of the juicing process! Get creative with the food scraps and make paper with them.
Kids love popsicles and making your own also saves you money as well as avoids ingredients you don't want! You can either pour your smoothie into the reusable molds or prepare simple juice mixes such as orange juice and almond milk. Try cutting up small fruits or seeds such as chia and add those in as well. Kids will love making the popsicles and it teaches them patience to have to wait for them to freeze.
Muffins are good to make and then eat for breakfast all week. You can load them with nutrients, from hemp and chia seeds, to pumpkin seeds and gojiberries. Kids love licking the bowl and its guilt free! They learn about measurements, mixing, and and the concept of baking, as they love to watch them rise. Its an added plus that they are simple snacks/breakfast already prepped and ready to grab and eat! Sugar cookies are also fun, as kids love shaping and molding the dough. They learn about shapes and get to enjoy delicious cookies guilt free from harsh ingredients.
This is a process you want to be very careful and particular with, as you can easily contaminate it. But once you get the art down, you are saving your family a lot of money. Kids go crazy over the delicious taste and its so good for them you cant help but say yes every time! Loaded with probiotics and many vitamins, as well as simple to make its something to defiantly try. The children shouldn't necessarily help with the process because of its easy contamination but they can watch and patiently wait for the end result. They will be excited to have their own homemade stash of kraut.
This can really help children learn to see how food is formed. They will absolutely love to watch the growth of the sprouts, and can keep journals of their findings. You have to rinse the seeds multiple times in the day so it also keeps them responsible for remembering to do so.
You don't have to have lots of sugar for a good drink! Children need to stay hydrated and creating a fun drink makes it easier to do. Hibiscus flower, herbal teas, and limeade are just some of the endless possibilities. They can squeeze lemons for a while, measure out sugars, and learn about boiling/ cooling.
Allow your children to spread jelly or hummus on their toast, dip their own apples into nut butters, slice their own bananas with a children knife and add adding raisins, or massaging their own kale salad with dressing. The possibilities are endless, and it makes eating way more fun! While you are busy doing work, cleaning, or making dinner for later, the kids can be enjoying a quick and simple snack to keep them off your hands!
Kids love watching corn pop on the stove! This is something you will primarily do, but makes children smile and brightens the day. Make sure they keep their distance and do not touch or open the lid.
My father always told me “clean as you go!”, and boy does this make life much easier. Noted it is not always possible, but when you can do it it defiantly is beneficial. Kids have to know that life isn't always fun and games, and cleaning up is a huge part of life’s work. My kids have always randomly asked to help clean, especially when it comes to wiping down the counters/ cabinets, rinsing dishes, and wiping the table off.
Putting the groceries away can be fun for children, as they also learn names of everything and see how meals come together from individual ingredients. Be careful of hard cans, and anything that may bruise easily such as pears. This also allows the children to learn where things go in the kitchen!
Cutting with knives / tearing
Kids love to help with the actual meal prep, but its not always feasible. There are some things they can stay occupied doing, such as cutting bananas and mushrooms. They also can cut herbs such as cilantro but they usually just start to tear this, which is okay too! Kale is also a great thing to allow the children to tear up, its easy and can take up lots of their time while you cook. They may not always be cut to your liking, but you can always go behind them and make the ingredients a bit smaller before using them to cook with. They can also put any of the ingredients that you cut, on the pan. Slice your potatoes and then hand them over, as an assembly line, to be placed on the baking sheet!
Using ingredients for math
You can always use simple ingredients to promote learning math. Pumpkin seeds, marshmallows, chocolate chips and grapes are all good ingredients to use, among many others. You can do subtraction and additions equations such as 1 plus 6, 10 minute 3, or pairing into groups of 2, 3, 4. Using everyday objects help kids get a better grasp on math without it seeming too hard its easy to comprehend.
Kitchen time can be stressful with children trying to help, but it doesn't have to be so bad. There are plenty of tasks they can help with, just keep your mind open and have patience. Make sure to teach your children to always wash their hands before and during kitchen work. Practice safe habits such as not handling knives, not pulling on any cords and not letting them dangle, be cautious of weight of cans, and so on. Enjoy the time you get to teach your children about basic life skills, as soon they will need it, and you will be grateful for their help! They love to be involved, might as well let them go for it!