Age Appropriate Skills
- Use blunt knife to cut
- Use microwave and blender
- Mix, roll and shape biscuits
- Beat ingredients with a whisk
- Grate cheese and vegetables
- Measure liquid and dry ingredients
- Peel onions, garlic, carrots, cucumbers
- Crack eggs
- Knead dough
- Set the table
Set aside a bit of extra time to cook with your kids. It's great fun, and they'll never realize that they're improving their math and reading skills too.
Surfing for Recipes:
Sit down with a cookbook or go on-line and help your child pick out a recipe to make with you. Younger children may enjoy dumping ingredients into a bowl. Older kids can read the ingredient list and help measure.
Go with the Grain:
Stock up on boxed pasta, rice or whole grain side dishes. Your child's job - to pick one out and help you make it. Read the box with your child for creative ways to jazz up the dish. Most are simple enough for a child to help prepare.
Set aside one night of the week as kids' salad night. Your child is in charge of what goes in the salad (plan ahead so that you have all the ingredients on hand) and gets to wash and tear the lettuce. He or she can then tell you what to slice and dice, and finally kids love tossing it all together with a delicious dressing for the family to enjoy. Ask your child to count how many different food groups are in the salad.
Whole meal pita bread halves pose as empty kangaroo pouches that need filling. Set out a variety of ingredients and ask the kids to fill their kangaroo's pouch for a tasty snack or lunch. Try hummus dip, lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes and cheese, or philly, peanut butter and sliced bananas. Let the kids help prepare the ingredients, too.
Magical Sun Tea:
Using a fruity herbal tea blend, let the kids add 6 to 8 tea bags to 1-litre of water in a plastic jar or pitcher. Seal the container and set outside in the sun for about 3 hours. Have the kids check the tea every 15 minutes the first hour to watch the magical colour change. Then let them mix the tea with some soda water, fruit juice or lemonade for an "I-helped-to-make-it" thirst quencher.
Jazzy Fruit Cubes:
Add a little nutrition to drinks year-round by asking the kids to keep some fruit cubes on hand in the freezer. They can pour fruit juices into ice cube trays and add small bits of fresh fruits (grapes, berries), then freeze. The cubes add colour, fun and a bit of nutrition while keeping the kids tuned into fruits.
On the Road Again:
Heading out on an excursion with the kids? Before you leave, let them create their own snack-attack bags to take along rather than stopping for food on the road. Set out selections of dried fruit, air-popped popcorn, nuts and gummy-type lollies. Let the kids spoon their favourite blend into a resealable plastic bag and hit the road.
Funny Face Veggie Pizzas:
Help the kids slice and chop some fresh veggies. Let them spread some pizza sauce on individual pizza bases, toasted English muffins or pita breads, and then add veggies to create funny faces: capsicum strip mouths or eyebrows, pitted black olives or sliced zucchini for eyes, and a button mushroom nose. Use shredded reduced fat cheese for hair. Bake until cheese is melted and enjoy!