Whether it is creating food that looks fun and appealing or discovering what spices go with what flavors, cooking is a great way to practice your creativity.
– Debbie Madson
I am extremely lucky to live within an Italian family that takes great pride in making and preparing food. My eldest has observed these creative acts in the kitchen with great interest, and now enjoys any opportunity to make and create in the kitchen. Unfortunately, I am still pathetic when it comes to cooking, and am at a lost on how I might better support and facilitate Kids Cooking Activities.
Debbie Madson is a Web Publisher and Author, who has published several sites and books on the subject. Most of her time is spent at kids-cooking-activites.com, a site dedicated to teaching kids cooking skills and easy to do recipes (and this is a fantastic blog – I can only hope that one-day mine will be half as successful!). In this 3 Question Interview, Debbie shares her ideas on how to engage children’s creative thinking in the kitchen.
1. Cooking and Creativity – what’s the connection?
Whether it is creating food that looks fun and appealing or discovering what spices go with what flavors, cooking is a great way to practice your creativity. If you can make cooking fun and bring in a level of creativity kids will learn to enjoy working in the kitchen. One of my favorite ways to do this is to give kids a plate of chopped vegetables for a vegetable platter and ask them to create a masterpiece. They’ve made turkeys for the Thanksgiving dinner, a house design with flowers and trees as a landscape and even Picasso like designs.
Cooking also provides opportunities for problem solving and learning without children even realizing it. By teaching kids how to half or double recipes you are showing them how to use math skills in everyday life. Or learning how to read a recipe carefully so you don’t forget an ingredient or skip a step gives them practice in reading skills. There may be mistakes made while cooking and being able to have kids stop and figure out what went wrong and how to make it better or do it over can provide great problem solving skills as well.
2. In what ways can parents introduce young children to cooking?
Getting children interested when they are young is a great opportunity to get them more involved in healthy eating. However, don’t feel it is too late if your kids are older.
When you are beginning allow your child to work alongside you by stirring food, adding ingredients into a mixing bowl or choosing recipes to try. These simple tasks will help them feel like they are making and creating meals. Also talk to them while you are cooking. Teach them about the different ingredients you are using, where they come from and what kind of food our bodies need.
As they gain experience add on more age appropriate tasks such as whisking eggs, peeling carrots or measuring ingredients.
3. I confess I can’t cook. I burn everything and make a huge mess in the process. What advice do you have for Dads like me?
If you are a beginner cook start with some basic ideas such as boiling water for pasta and adding a sauce. Starting with prepared ingredients can also build your confidence. To make a basic chicken soup you could start with a can of chicken broth, shredded chicken (I like to use the Rotisserie chicken already cooked from the grocery store) and chopped carrots. Keeping it simple when you are beginning sometimes is a great way to ease yourself into learning how to cook.
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