Home-cooked family meals and foods for gift-giving during the holiday season provide the opportunity for cooking with kids. There are many benefits to spending time with your kids in the kitchen and the festive foods you prepare allow for using healthy ingredients, such as onions, also known as Nature’s Ninja because they are packed with nutrition.
What are the benefits of cooking with kids?
Cooking and creating a final dish to present to family and friends builds confidence in children. Following recipes and measuring ingredients help reinforce the math and science that they have learned in school throughout the year. Kitchen tasks such as pouring and stirring for younger children and chopping or kneading for older children help build fine and gross motor skills. The time you spend with your children in the kitchen allows for family bonding and building communication skills. At the same time, it also provides the opportunity to teach children about nutritious ingredients and healthy choices.
What are age-appropriate cooking tasks for kids?
Preschoolers can be assigned to washing fruits and vegetables and cleaning them by pulling off browned leaves or outer layers that aren’t fit for eating. While they are too young to use a knife, they can tear ingredients such as herbs for garnishes or leafy greens for salads. They also can stir batters and uncooked ingredients in bowls.
Kids ages 6 to 8 can take a more active role in food preparation by measuring ingredients and cracking eggs. They can also spread and layer ingredients such as topping casseroles with breadcrumbs or spooning sauces over roasted meats.
Older children aged 9 to 12 can start with chopping using a blunt knife. While supervised, they can also begin simple stovetop cooking such as sautéing the celery and onions for holiday stuffing or simmering simple sauces. Dividing batter among muffin tins or rolling and filling pie crust and then crimping the edges are other tasks children in this age group can take on.
What are some kid-friendly recipes for cooking with kids?
Kids can get involved with the peeling and mashing for Roasted Onion and Garlic Mashed Potatoes. Panini with Brie, Cranberry Sauce and Caramelized Onions is a fun option for using leftovers from Thanksgiving. Ninja Onion Odyssey Soup from our Ninja Onion Odyssey Free Downloadable Activities Book makes a kid-friendly starter for holiday meals. Within the activities book there is also a lesson on creating your own cookbook that provides tools for kids to create their own book which can be filled with the family recipes they help make this year.
Pies offer the opportunity for mixing and rolling dough and for making fillings which can involve kids of all ages. Think beyond sweet pies and consider a savory version to go with your holiday dinner. Flemish Caramelized Onion Tart goes well with the main course and Cranberry Onion Tarts make a fun appetizer.
Breads also make an ideal recipe choice when cooking with kids. Younger children can mix the dough while older children can measure and weigh ingredients and knead the dough. Try Savory Sweet Potato and Onion Dinner Rolls during the holidays.
Whatever you choose to make this holiday season, aim to get the whole family involved. Cooking with kids creates memories and builds skills that last a lifetime.