If you have little ones who get more than a little stir crazy in the winter months, it's time to come up with a good, constructive activity to keep them interested and active. Cooking and baking together can be a fun and exciting adventure that they will never forget-plus, you get yummy treats, too!
It is a detriment not to allow your kids to be included in the cooking process. Cooking with children opens a world of imagination and creativity for them (even younger children).
Obviously, parents must use discretion when it comes to being around sharp objects, and hot handles and pots. However, there are many cooking projects that are easy and fun (and MESSY!) that allow your children to walk on the wild side of food, and also bonds all of you together, as you create delicious, magical culinary treats.
Here are a few fun, simple things to try in the kitchen that you and your child can enjoy making together. Making bread or pizza dough is a great way to start.
Your kids can help pour and measure the ingredients, and watch the project from start to finish. Don't worry if they get flour in their hair or on their face-that's part of the fun!
Make sure you're down on your child's level so they can view the entire process and feel included. You can teach them about yeast and how it rises and you can laugh together when you see the dough plump to three times its size.
Kids will have fun punching down the dough and helping you knead and roll out the dough. It's also a great way to get out those extra wiggles, especially when they've been confined inside all day.
It's also fun for children to be part of the process of the cooking process--being included in a project from start to finish (for example: making the pizza dough, waiting for it to rise, adding the sauce and toppings, watching it bake, etc.). Next, you could try some fun finger sandwiches cut outs.
This is an especially fun project around the holidays or if you are hosting a birthday party. Dig out old holiday cookie cutters or buy some fun, interesting shaped cookie cutters at your local craft or home store.
Consult with your children first and ask them what kinds of sandwiches they'd like. Peanut butter and jelly, tuna, and chicken salad are always a hit.
If you're a vegetarian family, slices of cucumber and/or other vegetables (roasted red peppers, tomatoes, etc) and whole grain bread with a hummus filling makes for yummy finger sandwiches. Have fun experiencing with different kinds of breads and fillings.
You can even include your children in the shopping process and you can create fun ideas together. Let your imagination run wild!
You'll have fun filling the sandwiches and stamping out the bread in fun shapes. It will also make your kids more excited about their school lunches.
Crazy cake decorating is very fun exciting, and delicious! This project could get crazy but that's the fun of "crazy" cake decorating.
You don't need a special occasion to bake a cake. Enjoy perusing your local craft or party supply store for an interesting shaped cake pan.
There are amazing selections ranging from bugs to princesses to cowboys! If you're a busy mom, you can cheat and buy a store bought cake mix but if you dare, make a cake batter from scratch, and once again, let your children help by pouring and mixing the ingredients.
Go wild! The more outrageous the decorating the better!
Buy/make wildly, vibrant colored frosting and let your child have fun decorating the cake. Buy fun sprinkles, chocolate chips, candies, etc.
Don't hold them back, and if most of the frosting ends up on them rather than the cake, that's half the fun. Cooking with your little ones can be a beautiful and amazing bonding experience.
However, remember the rules of safety when cooking around and with children. Adults need to handle any hot items and keep hot pans out of the reach.
You will be amazed at how your relationships can improve by sharing these experiences together. It will also keep them busy and happy in those chilly months!