I think that cooking is a great activity to do with your children: they can learn and practice a variety of skills and it gives them an understanding of food and where it all comes from. It also encourages them to try new foods that they might otherwise turn their noses up at.
Shopping for the ingredients can also be part of the activity – anything to make the supermarket trip less fraught!
With my younger children, I have found that they love getting involved with simple quick recipes that they can follow from beginning to end. Assembling a fresh fruit salad, for example, or creating a fruit juice “cocktail”.
You can be a bit more adventurous with older kids. Once my children were old enough to open the fridge and cupboards and hold a knife safely, I encouraged them to start preparing food for themselves.
A five year old could be given sliced bread, a flat knife, a choice of spreads or toppings to make a sandwich. It’s important to be patient and, as far as possible, ignore the mess as they try out simple no-cook recipes.
I encouraged my kids to help in making their packed lunches for school. By getting them to help and asking them what they wanted, I found that they were more likely to eat up their lunches. They also came up with some interesting sandwich combinations!
For more ideas on cooking with kids, have a look at the article I have posted on www.mimitoys.ie/playarticles