Love cooking? If you want to keep your little one busy while also introducing them to the world of culinary delights, we’ve got you covered!
Cooking with your pre-schooler is a fun activity that could also help battle those mealtime tantrums. After all, if you’ve had a ball making the meal or snack together, your little one may be more likely to guzzle it down.
In this quick guide, we’ll take a look at everything you need to know from how to make this a safe activity to the recipes you can whip up. Warning: This may make your mouth water!
Safety First: 5 Tips to Keep in Mind
Before we dive in headfirst and start looking at some of the best ideas for cooking with your pre-schooler, we need to take a sidebar. Safety always comes first. To make sure that your little one is happy and safe when cooking, be sure to follow these handy tips.
1. Always supervise your little one
First things first, you’re going to need to keep a watchful eye over your kid. It’s natural for pre-schoolers to be curious and want to grab or touch things. For that reason, it’s important to be vigilant in the kitchen. Do a quick safety check first and remove anything that could hurt them. You should also ensure that you’re there throughout the cooking session.
2. Wash your hands first
Cleanliness has never been more important. Thanks to the pandemic, you’re likely a seasoned pro when it comes to getting your kids to wash their hands several times a day.
When you’re cooking with your pre-schooler, it’s a great opportunity to instil some hygiene tips in them. Ensure that they wash their hands well before you get started.
3. Clean up as you go
There are two reasons you should clean up as you go. First up, it means that there’s less mess at the end of the cooking fun. However, it also means that there’s less opportunity for accidents to happen.
Messy worktops can hide things like knives, scissors, and other hazards. Keeping on top of the situation as you cook will help you avoid any problems.
4. Take care with the oven or hob
It goes without saying that young children should not be operating the oven or hob. When you’re cooking or baking, make sure that you take control. For example, if you need to preheat the oven, do so but keep your kids away from it.
Equally, if you need to heat something up on the hob, have your children sit away from you at a table.
5. Do all the cutting beforehand
Let’s talk ingredients. You might need to chop some tomatoes or grate cheese. These tasks could be hazardous when little hands are around. To avoid any issues, portion up your ingredients ahead of time and cut, chop or grate them up. Simple.
Four Cooking Ideas!
Cooking Idea #1: Pizza Baguettes
Children love pizza! Here’s a cost-effective recipe that will introduce your pre-schooler to the world of cooking. In mere minutes, you can whip up a tasty snack that the two of you will relish.
Let your little one choose the toppings they want and assemble the pizzas.
- 2 baguettes (shop-bought)
- 100ml tomato puree
- 150g grated cheese
- Extra toppings
- Cut the baguettes in half length-ways.
- Place them under the grill for a minute or so.
- With your preschooler, add the puree and oregano.
- Top with grated cheese and add any tasty extras.
- Place the baguettes under the grill until the cheese is melted.
- Leave to cool and enjoy together!
Cooking Idea #2: Chocolate Cupcakes
Ready for dessert? If your little one is always asking for sweet snacks, why not make some together? One of the best ideas for cooking with a pre-schooler is making two-ingredient chocolate cupcakes. These are oh-so-simple and scrummy!
- 60g melted semi-sweet chocolate
- 1 large egg
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Start by cracking the egg into a bowl and separating the yolk from the white.
- Whisk the egg white until it forms peaks. (Hint: You can use a hand mixer!)
- Mix together the egg yolk and melted chocolate. You can help your pre-schooler do this.
- Next, fold the whipped egg whites into the chocolaty mixture.
- Pour the chocolate mixture into cupcake cases and place in the oven for 20 minutes.
- Remove and leave to cool before enjoying with your little one!
Cooking Idea #3: Fruit Ice Lollies
Ice lollies don’t get much healthier than ones made from real fruit juice! If you’re looking for a fun way to make something sweet and delicious, look no further. These super dessert treats take minutes to put together (and hours to freeze!). Follow these five steps.
- 400ml grape juice
- 50g frozen raspberries
- Lime juice
- In a large bowl, pour in the grape juice.
- Add the frozen raspberries.
- Add a squeeze of lime juice for a splash of zest
- Mix together and then pour the mixture into ice lolly moulds.
- Place in the freezer for 4-5 hours to freeze!
Cooking Idea #4: Breakfast Cheese Cups
Breakfast time can often feel like a rush. However, when you’ve got the time to spare, why not spend it making some cheese cups with your little one. This recipe is simple to learn and you can fall back on it whenever you need. Follow these straightforward steps.
- 2 wheat tortillas
- 100g grated cheese
- 40g chopped bell peppers
- 40g chopped cherry tomatoes
- Basil leaves
- 1 tsp olive oil
- Before you get started, you will need a muffin tray. Cut your tortillas into circles that will fit inside of each muffin cup (with room for the filling too!).
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Grease the tray with olive oil. Place each of the circles into the muffin cups.
- With your pre-schooler, fill each cup with the other ingredients. Start with the peppers, tomatoes, and basil leaves.
- Top each cup off with the grated cheese.
- Place the tray in the oven for around 10 minutes (or until the cheese has melted).
- Remove the tray from the oven and leave to cool before eating.
Pro tip: If you want to make this recipe more interesting, add an egg into the mix. Beat an egg and add it to the bottom layer of your cup before putting it in the oven.
Cooking with your pre-schooler doesn’t have to be hard. Make sure that you find basic recipes (like the ones we’ve listed here!) that don’t need too much effort. Taking the time to do this with your child at an early age could help them acquire a love of food and cooking!
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