My son has always loved to cook. One of the first meals he learned how to make was macaroni and cheese, ham, and vegetables. These are all very easy to prepare, and children enjoy making them. For younger children, it is best to start with small, simple meals. Cooking is something that will help a child throughout their lifetime. My son was six, when I started letting him help cook. My son is now fifteen and still loves to make the meals for our family dinner. The meals he likes to make have gotten more involved over the years. One of his favorite things to make are pancakes. He is magnificent at it. He cooks them perfect on both sides; he was able to do this from the start. Giving your child the opportunity to cook dinner for the family gives them a sense of pride and can teach them many different life lessons.
Meal planning is a fun and easy way to help children with organization skills. I had my son make a grocery list of everything he was going to need from the supermarket to make the dinner he was going to cook. He used the ads from the newspaper to get a general price for the stuff that he would need. For younger children, you can have them cut out the pictures of the food and glue them onto paper. I had him figure out how much money it would cost to make the dinner. When he was little, I let him use a calculator for this. Little ones just love to push the buttons. You can get a small calculator at your local dollar store just for them.
When we went to the grocery store, my son had his list and money. He got his cart and got everything he needed off of the shelves. He learned that different manufacturers charge different prices for the same product. He learned the difference between name brand products and store brand products. When we got to the register, he paid for his stuff. He learned about money and how to make the change. Most cashiers thought, this is cute and did not give me a hard time. I only ran into a couple of clerks, which gave me a hard time about letting my son pay for his items.
When preparing any meal, it is important, that all the food gets done at about the same time so that nothing gets cold. Having all the food ready at the same time is not an easy thing for anyone to learn; it takes practice. Planning simple meals will help your children with this. Plus, you have to have a general idea of when to start cooking a meal. You do not want; dad to have to wait an hour or two before you serve him dinner.
Cooking has many hidden math lessons. There is adding and subtracting, when figuring out servings. You have to know, how to measure the ingredients sometimes having to multiply or divide. Baking cookies is a great help for this. I do not know, too many kids, who don’t want to help bake cookies.
Next time you are thinking about what to make for dinner, why not let your child help you plan the menu. Let them cook a meal, with you by their side. Not only is cooking fun and educational for them. It is a big help to mom because she does not have to do the cooking. The big smile of pride on your child face because they cooked the family meal, is worth the extra dishes that you will end up having to wash.