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7 Reasons to Start Cooking With Your Kids Today

Cooking with your kids will definitely slow you down and it definitely can create some messes at times. But maybe that’s the point. Everything about life seems to fly a million miles an hour nowadays and we like everything to be neat, clean, and in it’s place. Kids are the best thing to knock us off our high horse and remind us that beauty comes in the slow and messy moments. 

This post is all about how important cooking with your kids is for both you and your kids. 

cooking with your kids

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Cooking with Your Kids

How early should you start cooking with your kids?

Every kid has different ability levels when it comes to the fine motor and educational skills it takes to help good and bake. But how early you start is truly up to you. The earlier you start, the messier things may get. But if you can learn to enjoy the mess you truly can start cooking and baking with your kids as early as 15 months! 

What supplies do you need to start cooking with your kids?

As you continue cooking with your kids, you may want to add a few more things to your collection but this list is perfect to get you started. These toddler cooking tools will let them help you cut real food and prepare real meals safely. You can get every one of these things all together in this Toddler 

  • Wavy chopper The wavy chopper is great to chop things like carrots or cucumbers for snack time. Since it does have a metal blade it’s great for cutting just about anything, but the two hand handle means that their little fingers can’t get in the way. 
  • Wooden chopper This wooden chopper is great for things like bananas and sandwiches. it’s easy to hold with two hands and one, making it a great tool to help your toddler transition to using a knife correctly. 
  • Plastic knives These knives are made with a serrated edge so they cut food but not fingers. They are lightweight and have a grippy handle to help toddlers hang onto them and they are great for cutting most anything you might be cooking. 
  • “Y” Peeler– A Y shaped fruit/veggie peeler is much safer for little ones so that their hands don’t slip into the blade. However, you should still be careful to keep eyes on your kids when they are using it.
  • Kid sized oven mitts– I don’t suggest letting you kids take things out of the oven until they are older and you’ve been cooking together for quite a while. But oven mitts can also come in handy to carry any bowl or pan that could be hot. Plus, the extra touch makes them feel special 🙂

Supplies to make it even more fun!

While these other items are not at all necessary, here are a few more items that can make cooking with your kids even more fun for both of you!

  • Cute kids cutting boards- These shaped wooden cutting boards make cutting food more fun for you too!
  • Kid apron– This is another fun way to help them feel special and included.This apron comes in a ton of different patterns so you can find something that they love.
  • Sandwich cutter and sealer– Uncrustables are a kid favorite but they charge so much money to take the crust off for you! These sandwich cutters will let you make your own super easily and in all different shapes! Your kids will love it!

Why should you start cooking with your kids?

While it may not sound like it, cooking with your kids truly is the practical option to make meal times a bit easier on everyone. It’s also educational and fun and will definitely let you make tons of memories together. The benefits of cooking in early childhood are more than you’d imagine and it really is worth every bit of the extra time and occasional mess it causes. 

1. encourages them to try new foods

Every toddler has a few select foods they love but most every toddler also has MANY foods they won’t even touch. In the words of my toddler, they are “disgusting,” even before they’ve hit their tongue. We struggled with this for a long time (and still some days do if I’m being completely honest). But, the number one thing that has gotten my toddler to try new foods is letting him cook with me. He’s so proud of his work and wants to share it with everyone, including himself! When he helps cook, dinner time is so much less of a fight!

2. Develops math skills

As an adult you don’t realize that cooking and baking are both filled with tons of simple math skills. Once I started cooking alongside my toddler, I quickly saw his counting skills improve drastically! He is beginning to recognize numbers and even learning different measurements.

3. Helps them learn to follow step by step directions

One of the first things kids have to learn in school is completing multi-step tasks (usually starting with three steps). Starting young toddlers with sequential recipe directions early on will be a huge leg up to getting started with step by step directions. It may not sound like much but the ability to follow directions is a major foundation to learning just about anything! You can’t follow a tutorial or direction to do anything new without knowing how to follow a sequence!

4. Gives them a sense of pride and accomplishment

Unlike most adults, toddlers love to help out. Every time my toddler helps me cook dinner, he announces to his dad that he made dinner for us. He grins from ear to ear absolutely beaming with pride to show off his hard work. And each time my husband tells our toddler thank you for dinner, you can see the joy in his little face. 

5. You will be AMAZED at all they can do and how quickly they learn

As moms we sometimes forget that our toddlers just aren’t babies anymore. I know I am quick to tell my toddler that I will do something for him rather than letting him take a shot at it. Usually I’m afraid of him making a mess. But stepping back I began to realize that letting him make mistakes was the only way he would learn. So, I let him try more and I was astounded by the things he was able to do completely on my own. 

When he asked to help make eggs, my toddler was getting the pan grippers out, cracking his own eggs, stirring them, and spooning them onto his plate! He was almost doing it entirely without me after only making them with me a handful of times!

6. Teaches an important life skill

It’s unbelievable how many people make into adulthood without a clue of how to cook anything for themselves. This leads to repeatedly eating overly starchy carb filled meals like spaghetti, ramen noodles, and mac and cheese. Or it ends in repeatedly eating out which is typically both expensive and unhealthy.

Cooking with kids early on let’s them begin to learn about the benefits of different kinds of food, what balanced eating looks like, and how to cook their own healthy meals at home.

7. You’ll make tons of memories

Cooking with your kids will definitely have some messy moments and will most definitely slow down the cooking process. But the sweet moments will far outweigh the extra time it takes! Give it a try and I know you’ll never want to stop cooking with your kids!

This post was all about why you should start cooking with your kids and my best tips to make it a blast!

-Beautifully Busy Mom

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