As a parent, keeping the little ones entertained can be a slightly daunting and, at times, require alot of imagination! Over the last year, with schools being closed due to the pandemic and children spending more and more time at home, many mums and dads have had to get creative.
But what happens when all of those ideas dry up? Well, why not go back to basics? Cooking! Although we've spent alot of time indoors, utilising what you already have, is not only welcoming to the purse strings but also a fantastic way to spend quality time with the family.
Getting creative in the kitchen is a perfect way for children to understand which food groups go together and encourages them to try foods that they would otherwise refuse.
Parenting expert - Sarah Ockwell-Smith - says there are many benefits of cooking with your children; not only does it provide a great bonding experience, but the skills gained are also greatly rewarding.
Top 10 Benefits:
- It increases confidence levels and self-esteem – When children create something themselves, it leaves them with a feeling of pride and accomplishment.
- It reduces picky eating – Getting your kids involved in cooking can lead to a greater acceptance and liking of vegetables.
- It reduces the chances of developing obesity later in life – By giving children the knowledge and tools to prepare healthy meals, it sets them up for heathy eating habits in the future.
- It improves fine motor skills & hand eye coordination – The kitchen is the perfect place to improve fine motor skills and hand eye coordination with different activities ranging from chopping, peeling, mixing, kneading, stirring, and spreading.
- It helps children to follow instructions and improves their problem-solving skills – Anything can happen in the kitchen! From missing ingredients to accidental mishaps, kids can apply problem solving concepts to their real-life cooking activities.
- It teaches math’s skills – From weighing, measuring, and counting ingredients, the kitchen doubles as a classroom with impromptu math’s lessons!
- It improves speech and vocabulary skills - By simply discussing recipes and instructions, you’re expanding your child’s speech and vocabulary.
- It improves reading ability – Reading recipes together is a great way to continue building upon their reading abilities.
- It grows their sustainability knowledge – Cooking with children helps them learn about the source of their food and encourages them to think more about the environment and sustainable food production methods.
- It provides scientific lessons – From looking at reactions to combining certain ingredients to assessing textures, tastes, and changes when cooked, the scientific lessons provided through cooking are endless.
Sarah, who is working with pasta expert - Barilla - for their 'Kids in Cucina Campaign' also added: “Cooking with your children is also a great bonding opportunity. Many parents worry that they don’t spend enough quality time with their children, especially with the time pressures of modern-day living, but involving children in cooking the daily family meal doesn’t require any extra time.
”Planning and cooking a meal together is a low-cost way to do something fun and entertaining, at a time when many of us are needing to be more conscious of our family budgets. Pasta is an especially cost effective and filling meal to cook together with your children.”