As soon as your children start showing an interest in food, it’s a great idea to encourage them to learn more about it. Teach them about meal preparation, what’s healthy, and how to expand their tastes. The best way to grab their interest and inspire them is through cooking games: the more fun the learning process, the more engaged they will be!
Here are four cooking games for kids that will help keep them occupied and teach them valuable lessons. Before you get started on the fun, remember to designate a safe play space for your child in an unused corner of the kitchen, or just outside the kitchen where you can still see them at all times.
- Create a Mini-Kitchen
If your children are too young to help out with real dinner prep work, let them play make believe! Set up a children-friendly kitchen station next to your own. Fill a toy box with plastic spoons, cups and bowls which they can use to make a make believe dinner. Give them a colourful apron and chef’s hat and they’ll feel so grown up, working next to you. Cooking games such as this one, which encourages your child to mix, pour and ‘chop’, are great ways for children to develop their fine motor skills. They will also stretch your child’s imagination.
- Taste Test Snacks
Teach your child about taste, shape and texture by playing a taste testing game with healthy fruits and vegetables. Make a snack tray and create an assortment of healthy eats. Cut the foods into fun shapes like ‘apple moons,’ ‘banana wheels,’ ‘carrot swords,’ ‘cheese stars,’ ‘broccoli trees’ and ‘strawberry hearts.’ Have your child close their eyes and reach out to the tray to choose one item. Let them spend some time feeling the shape to guess what it is. After that, using texture and taste, they can announce what they just ate.
- Make Food Jewellery
All you need to occupy your child while you make dinner is a bowl of cereal and some string! Using breakfast cereal such as Cheerios, your child can make colorful necklaces or bracelets by threading some string through the holes. When they’re happy with their creation, you can help them tie it off, then they can proudly wear it at the dinner table that night. It doesn’t have to stop at cereal: you can use other food (for instance penne or macaroni pasta) so long as they have a large hole to loop string through.
- Let Them Be Your Commis-Chef
Once your child is old enough, cooking games can involve helping you prepare real food for dinner. The can use utensils to mix, pour and prepare softer foods, such as bread, soft fruits and cheeses. Make a game of it (and help them learn) by teaching them to calculate the right amount of ingredients or by figuring out how much food a recipe will make.
One last thing that cooking with children helps with is setting healthy eating habits. Currently, childhood obesity rates are higher than ever. Help reduce the effects of it on your own children by getting them involved in fun, healthy and informative cooking games from a young age.