I love to cook and as such spend a bulk of my time in the kitchen. My kitchen is also my dining room and so much more, so here I sit, typing on the laptop.
Because I love to cook, I have long invited the kids to help me out. Because Sandra was a little older when I was home all the time, she has more experience with doing stuff in the kitchen. Rene also just seems less interested, which may be part personality. I’ve been trying to set activities up ahead of time for the kids a lot lately otherwise they complain they have nothing to do and beg to use the devices. Some of those activities have taken place in the kitchen. Here are some fun things we have been up to in our humble kitchen lately – and you can do too.
Making Holiday-Themed Cookies
Rene bounces back from being sick incredibly fast. He was ill last night so school policy mandates he stayed home today, however, he spent the better portion of his morning playing with his model cars and race track. Last month, he was sick around St. Patrick’s Day and, while home from school but feeling better, wanted to make cookies. We decided to make some simple shamrock cookies for the occasion.
I have an old cookbook I got from Scholastic when I was in…3rd grade, I think, and we found a recipe in there. They turned out to be very biscotti-ish, and were too crumbly to even try to get the pretzel sticks to stay in, but they tasted yummy anyhow. Next time, I would suggest using more food coloring. My kids are food coloring crazies.
The price of pizzeria pizza is too much for me and putting one together at home allows for all sorts of interesting topping options. Thus, once or twice a month we make our own – and the kids LOVE helping out.
I will admit that while I can put together a great stir fry, skillet dinner, or chicken curry, etc, baking is not something that I am incredibly talented at – breads especially. And though I have tried for years to make a good pizza dough, my skills are lacking. So I always just get one in a tube from the refrigerator section of the grocery store. No shame. These are actually fun to use and the kids like to open the tube and unroll the dough. The kids like to make traditional pizza with sauce and cheese, but I like to branch out with recipes from The Vegetarian 5-Ingredient Gourmet Cookbook by Nava Atlas. The White Pizza Florentine is my favorite, with cottage cheese and spinach. Check out her website VegKitchen for tons more recipes.
Stacking A Salad
Many times on this site, I have posted about the kids making vegetable salads or something related to fruits. Fruits and vegetables are, well, powerhouses for vitamins and minerals and dietary fiber. Most also come conveniently package ready-to-eat and are easy to manipulate and turn into an easy recipe. Sandra contributes to just about every family potluck with her own salad and would be on a raw foods diet if not for her love of port (I swear!).
The other day she decided to make fruit kabobs, which we also made while we were homeschooling. This time, she was inspired by Nickelodeon’s Dora & Diego Let’s Cook Cookbook, which has a recipe for “Surfing Safari Fruit Salad Stacks.” The stacks in the recipe are not kabobs, she modified – the true sign of a master learner! It did however have a yogurt sauce that she put together. It was all muy, muy deliciosos!
The Dora & Diego Let’s Cook Cookbook has lots of fun and easy recipes in it that are colorful (and colorfully named) and kids love. I especially love that they are made with easy-to-find ingredients and don’t rely heavily on pre-packaged ingredients. Sure, let’s cook!
Science in the Kitchen
And lastly, cooking is science, so kids must experiment! We have a fun lab set that includes large test tubes, a big beaker, and from somewhere, we ended up with 2 pairs of kid goggles. I pulled the set out one Saturday morning not too long ago and the kids make a thorough mess of the table. Mostly, they worked with water, food coloring and spices. I pulled out some containers of thyme and rosemary that are a little past their prime, and also not my favorite, and they mixed up concoctions. I also had a bag of tapioca pearls, and since I only use them for 1 recipe/year, let them use 85% of the bag.
Then, they used our huge assortment of medicine droppers for measuring and transferring, as well as a dump bucket so they could mix and drop galore. I’m always sure to throw a bunch of rags down on the table before they start (or really, it is the kids’ responsibility to do so) because spills are inevitable. When it’s nice outside, science experiments in nature are also appropriate. 🙂
The Kitchen is a Fun Place
That’s for sure: the kitchen is a fun place. We eat here, we chat here, we cook together here, and we learn here. Let’s try new things and then learn to be self-disciplined and clean up too. The kitchen is probably my favorite place in the house – because it is where we all come together.
Share your thoughts: What are some fun things you do with your children in the kitchen?
*Disclaimer: I receive no compensation from any of the sites linked to on this blog, they are merely things I think my readers would find interesting.