A mother emailed us telling us how pleased she was that her college-aged son enjoyed baking. Another mother emailed recently and said that she was home schooling her children and was going to teach them to bake bread as part of their education. Kids enjoy working with their mom–and dad–in the kitchen. Here are some tips for teaching children to cook.
1. Allow plenty of time. Neither you nor your kids will enjoy the experience if you’re fighting the clock. It takes twice as long to bake with kids–it’s just worth it.
2. Teach good hygiene habits. Teach them to wash their hands often and to clean and disinfect the counters. Help them use clean sponges and dishtowels.
3. Teach them food safety principles. Make them aware of dangerous bacteria and how they thrive. Teach them to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. For an in depth review of food safety principles, click here.
4. Teach them the basics of ingredients. Explain how yeast works or baking soda. Show them the difference between granulated sugar, brown sugar, and confectioners’ sugar.
5. Teach them to measure. Show them the difference between dry measures and wet. Let them practice. If they can measure successfully, they are on their way to success. Teach them the math of measurements–that there are four cups in a quart, 16 ounces in a pound, and three teaspoons in a tablespoon.
6. Teach them to use the stove and the oven safely and properly. Show them the basic cooking methods–frying, steaming, sautéing, boiling, etc. As you progress, pick recipes that demonstrate each.
7. Teach them how to read and interpret a recipe. Let them read the recipe and discuss it with them step by step.
8. Teach them to clean up. Let them know that the job is not done until the kitchen is clean.
For more information on teaching kids to cook, click here.